By Admin | November 1, 1999

It takes just a few seconds to realize that Marie (Caroline Ducey) and Paul (Sagamore Stevenin) are one seriously dysfunctional couple. No matter how much the nubile nymphomaniac begs for sex or writhes against her hunky boyfriend, the studiously indifferent lunk just lies there. The good news, from a male audience member’s perspective, is that the shunned Marie, setting out on un cherchez pour Monsieur Goodbar de Francais, dishabilles herself for a variety of saner, far more eagerly responsive men. The bad news is, she whines the entire movie about how frustrated Paul’s indifference makes her, how much she loves him anyway and how miserable she is because of it all. Hey, lady. Here’s some advice. Dump the clod and shut the hell up. This is such a pretentious waste of lots of lovely, gratuitous nudity…and don’t give me any of that “It’s integral to the plot” crap, either. For one thing, there’s scarcely any plot to speak of and for another, “Romance” prominently pushes the sex in its advertising, so director Catherine Breillat knows what puts buns in the seats. That doesn’t mean she can keep ’em entertained once she’s got ’em there, however, full frontals and all. For all its smug self-aggrandizing angst about sex and love, this plodding, aggravating affair took turns boring me to tears then pissing me off. It’s painfully obvious to anyone who’s paid their hard earned cash and who’s stuck watching these freaks, that Paul’s a selfish, head game loving cretin whose main source of amusement is making Marie’s life miserable. We don’t need an entire sodden movie full of self-important sexual psychobabble to tell us all about it. Again, it’s very simple. “Dump the clod and shut the hell up!” we scream inside at Marie, knowing that the sooner she gets on with her life, the sooner we can get on with ours. – Merle Bertrand

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