Shall we kiss? While seemingly straightforward, this French film doesn’t answer the question until the last minute and a half. Unfortunately, all the buildup is unfulfilling. This movie’s romance has more twists and turns in it than a rollercoaster at Six Flags, but not the good kind – the kind where you get off feeling slightly dizzy and wondering why you ate a hotdog right before. I was disappointed.
It begins as many a love story do, with a chance meeting between Emilie (Julie Gayet) and Gabriel (Michael Cohen) when she asks him for directions while on business in Nantes, Fr`ance. He gives her a lift to her hotel, which leads into an enjoyable dinner. Before he lets her go for the night, he leans in to give her a kiss. She pulls away and when questioned further admits she’s attracted to him, but dares not kiss him because of something that happened to a friend of hers. He asks her to explain and so begins a story within a story.
It centers around her friend Judith (Virginie Ledoyen) who married a wealthy pharmacist, and is best friends with goofy-looking Nicolas (writer, actor, and director Emmanuel Mouret). The two friends are very close and share all their secrets until one day the recently single Nicolas comes to Judith with a dilemma. He says he suffers from a lack of physical affection, so much so that he cannot focus on anything at all. She suggests that he visit a prostitute for his problems, but he complains that there is a strict “no- kissing” policy and without kissing he simply cannot “perform.”
Obviously seeking a kiss, the oblivious Judith agrees to help “cure” him of this problem. It culminates in an extremely awkward love scene, made exponentially better by the English subtitles flashing across the screen. They part ways only to meet up a few weeks later. Big surprise, they’re completely preoccupied by the attraction they created with their kissing.
Under the guise of relinquishing the fantasy of each other created the first time, they continue meeting and keep her husband and his new live-in girlfriend Caline in the dark. When they finally admit their love for each other they try to set up Caline with Judith’s husband, who sadly overhears their plan the morning of and leaves for Italy depressed and alone. It becomes more of a tragedy than a love story.
The movie returns to Emilie and Gabriel, who have returned to her hotel room for the end of the story and the sexual tension is palpable. She informs him that the scorned husband is actually the man she is married to, and she didn’t kiss him earlier because she wouldn’t want him to experience that again. However, they do eventually kiss and Gabriel leaves her room without a word, a stranger once more.
While the plot itself was a little blasé, the wardrobe was hysterical. I’ve never seen so much beige and white in my life! Not sure what they were trying to project with the trench coats, but a little color never killed anyone. It was kitschy and foreign, both movie characteristics I usually enjoy. I was expecting more oomph. However, after an hour you do get a life lesson in French romance. Be careful who you lock lips with, because apparently you just might fall in love with them. Thanks Mouret, we’ll all keep that in mind.