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Jet Lag (Decalage Horaire) (R)
Miramax
Official Site
Director: Daniele Thompson
Producer: Alain Sarde
Written by: Daniele Thompson, Christopher Thompson
Cast:Juliette Binoche, Jean Reno, Sergi Lopez

Rating: out of 5


Try, if you can stretch your powers far enough, to imagine the following film: A woman meets, under unusual circumstances, a man with whom she has little in common; they fight several times and (lest anything be spoiled here) eventually engage in an amorous coupling. Such a film, one might think, must be a romantic comedy. Jet Lag contains all of previously mentioned elements, and at first glance might seem comfortably ensconced in that niche. But there is almost nothing funny about Jet Lag. Rather than a romantic comedy, this French film might more aptly be called a psychological romance, or a romantic character study. While the typical romantic comedy tends to focus on the awkward nature of courting rituals or the humorous quirks of the characters, Jet Lag consists largely of the two main characters talking to each other endlessly about their personal histories and relentlessly probing each otherís psychological baggage. Though the settings do changeósome exchanges take place in the Paris airport while others are in a hotel room near the airportóJet Lag is essentially one long conversation.

Rose (Binoche) is flying to Acapulco from Paris, having just left her violent-tempered shitbag boyfriend. Felix (Reno) is an accomplished chef who gets angry in the presence of mediocre food, and who has sold out to The Man by developing a frozen-food business. He is flying to Munich from New York, when his plane is forced by bad weather to land in Paris. Not knowing when their planes will take off, the two strangers are stuck in the airport indefinitely. After Rose asks Felix to borrow his cell phone for an important call, a series of mishaps and a hostile meteorological climate keep throwing the would-be travelers into each otherís company.

And thatís it. Thatís the plot. Needless to say, the two are mismatched and do not immediately get along. Then they talk, talk again, and talk some more, before contemplating first a one-night stand, then something more permanent. This film is not My Dinner With Andre or Melvin Goes to Dinneróit does not draw attention to the fact that weíre watching people talk and nothing else. But if you donít like talky pictures, this is not for you. Unfortunately, if you do like talky pictures, itís probably not for you either. The performances of the two leads transcend the predictable script, but the charactersí clichťd motivations and predictable attraction are difficult to enjoy on any level. And of course, as has already been mentioned, if you like romantic comedies this is also not for you. In the final analysis, perhaps the film is not for anyone. While saying that Jet Lag is smarter than the typical American romantic comedy is damning the film with faint praise, a movie so short on charm or originality should take its accolades where it can find them.

óMike OíConnor

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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