Tuesday 29 November 2011

Comfort foods: "Romantics Anonymous"

Romantics Anonymous is one of those slight confections we wouldn't be going anywhere near if it didn't have the inferred quality that comes with subtitles. The French have only now decided there were bits from Chocolat and Amelie worth imitating; the new film's central romance, between two highly-strung chocolate fanciers, tries in vain to justify behaviour that ranges from the unlikely to the infuriating. By mistake, long-time singleton Isabelle Carré lands a saleswoman job at a failing chocolate firm run by uptight Benoît Poelvoorde. Rather than admit she's actually a prize-winning chocolatier - thus clearing up any misunderstanding - she instead carries on regardless, eventually posing as the interlocutor for a hermit chef, a deception that inevitably piques the boss's interest.

These are good performers, but they're stuck playing non-characters, selection boxes of tics and quirks from a dozen other romcoms. Carré just about makes do with the post-Amelie wardrobe, heel-clicking and chanson-singing, but it's a particular waste to have Poelvoorde playing repressed rather than full-blown pompous or insane, his strongest comic suits. And of course this pair should get to the hotel at which a chocolate convention is being held to find a booking error has left them with one double room, rather than two singles. If you like chocolate, there's gallons of the stuff sloshing around within these 75 minutes - the idea is that Carré and Poelvoorde are only ever comfortable when they're eating it, or making it, or talking about it - but even as somebody with a pronounced sweet tooth, I found it all more than a bit... well, sugary.

Romantics Anonymous opens in selected cinemas from Friday.

No comments:

Post a Comment