I don't think I have written more profane notes during a movie than I did while watching "Shall We Kiss?" a movie that could very well be the dumbest film about two friends falling in love that I've ever seen. And, to top it off, it's from France! (It's called "Un baiser s'il vous plaît" over there.)
Through my shorthand, I was cursing this movie out like I caught it sneaking around with my woman -- that is, if I had a woman, of course. It's supposed to be a cool and calculated film about the comedy and tragedy usually found when falling in love. Instead, it reminds me why my irrational intolerance of the French is somewhat justified.
First off, you think you're watching a movie about a man and a woman (Michaël Cohen and Julie Gayet) who casually meet on the street and end up going out on a date. But then, the woman goes into this story that's supposed to explain why she won't give ol' boy a kiss goodnight. The main story is about Judith (Virginie Ledoyen) and Nicolas (Emmanuel Mouret, who also wrote and directed), two lifelong friends who decide to walk over to the friends-with-benefits side when lonely guy Nicolas starts craving "physical affection." (Join the club, Bruce Jay Friedman!)
When they try their best to keep romantic feelings out of their freaky-sneaky time (their initial love-making session is so awkward and embarrassing, you start to wonder whether these two have ever gotten down before), it's not at all surprising that they start developing feelings for each other. The more they do it, the more they can't keep their hands off each other. This proves to be a major problem for the pair, especially considering they're partnered with other people they appear to be too cowardly to break up with.
"Kiss" is obviously the work of a man who has seen too many Woody Allen movies. The urban/urbane movie appears to be such a tribute to the man, with its neurotic characters, intellectual and introspective dialogue and yin/yang merging of farcical comedy and heartbreaking drama, I'm shocked Mouret couldn't get dude to do a cameo. (Instead of Gershwin or Porter songs, Mouret uses pieces of classical music in the soundtrack.)
Throughout the movie, I kept wondering whether Mouret is trying to mock movies about illicit, best-friend love affairs by showing how ridiculous they can be once you're in them and how painful they can be when you're already linked with others. Or maybe he is trying to show a love affair so detached and deconstructive that the characters ultimately look more delusional than love-struck.
Whatever he was trying to do, it doesn't pay off. With this movie, Mouret ambitiously attempts to explain love, something I don't think anyone has been successful doing. For, you see, love is as unpredictable as a ferret swimming around in a big pot of rum-soaked chitlins.
That last line doesn't make any sense, you say? Well, neither does love.
That Mouret centers the film around two of the most annoyingly, socially inept characters I've ever witnessed just makes this project even more of an abject failure.
He would have been better off sticking to the first couple and following them during their whirlwind night of romance together. But I guess he wanted to be in a movie where he gets in bed with that cute chick from "The Beach" over and over again.