REVIEW: 'Romantics Anonymous'

REVIEW: 'Romantics Anonymous'

REVIEW: 'Romantics Anonymous', Flicks.co.nz
Benoît Poelvoorde and Isabelle Carré in 'Romantics Anonymous'

3 stars

French rom-com set in a chocolate factory that chronicles the awkward and masked romance between two abnormally shy people, both suffering from "hyper-emotionalism". Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.

If nothing else, this cute French confection has a fantastic date scene. It’s a bad date of course, an embarrassing encounter of The Office proportions, one of many scenes of awkwardness on which this charmer pivots. It’s to actors Isabelle Carre and Benoit Poelvoorde’s credit that their flawed characters are mostly endearing. In the real world they’d be instant outcasts, so perhaps it’s inevitable their pathetic social skills eventually start to grate. But this is a broad comedy designed to augment the cringe-factor we all undoubtedly feel when embarking on a new romance. Shyness, when pushed to director Jean-Pierre Ameris’ extremes, equals fainting, stalking and leaping from windows. And a lot of sweating.

With its reclusive, bashful protagonists Romantics Anonymous is reminiscent of Amelie, a film near-impossible to surpass in terms of visual charm and originality. This is more conventional, adding yet another whimsical romance to the Gallic film tradition. Although a little slight on story, it offers ample opportunity to bask in the beauty of the cobbled streets, chic clothing and chocolate boutiques. The script is witty, the chemistry just right, and the overall effect so sweet it’s a little like eating too much chocolate.

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