Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shall We Kiss? Grade B

Shall We Kiss?
Virginie Ledoyen, Emmanuel Mouret, Michaël Cohen, Frédérique Bel, Stefano Accorsi; Writer & Director Emmanuel Mouret. (French, subtitled)

This is a very lightweight romantic comedy, but the excellent acting, directing, music, and cinematography more than make up for its silly story, though it must be said even the silly story is well-told. A young man (Mouret, who also wrote and directed) becomes super horny, as young men are wont to do, although in French, it is nothing so vulgar, but rather, a “lack of complicity with women.” Oh, dear.

He confides this to his long time best friend (Ledoyen) who is very understanding and suggests a prostitute. But after a few minutes of overly precious and coy conversation, the inevitable happens and she “services” him, out of friendship. Some time (months years?) later they meet again, now both committed in relationships to others, and agree that they should do it again, to remove the romantic mystique of that first incident. There is no meat in the sex scenes, but plenty of charming (“cute”) dialog and some very wry acting. Inevitably the two realize they are in love and must find ways to get rid of their other relationships, which they do with some complications and more wry humor.

It is quite interesting that this entire story is told (and shown) as a history by another woman (Bel), who has casually met a man in Paris who gave her a ride. They end up drinking together and eventually in her hotel room, but they are exquisitely polite while she tells the story. She won’t allow even a kiss because “One never knows beforehand if a kiss will be a small kiss or a great kiss” so one just shouldn’t. Even though the story of those two is just a framing device for the other story, it is almost as compelling as the historical drama she tells, so really, we get two stories for the price of one.

All this would only merit an “average” rating but the directing is outstanding, the sets, costumes, and scenes are gorgeous, the language is beautiful, and the music (Tchaikovsky, Schubert, and Chopin) is fabulous. Plus, as I said, the acting is above average, so add it all up and this piece of comedic fluff rises to being a very enjoyable diversion.

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