Fans of Cédric Klapisch’s charming 2002 comedy-drama ‘L’Auberge Espagnole’ will no doubt flock to see the final film in his trilogy (the second was 2005’s ‘Russian Dolls’). But they might be disappointed. Once young and hopeful, our bumbling hero, French novelist Xavier (Romain Duris), is now more wrinkled and beaten down, with an estranged wife who’s fled with their kids to New York. After following them and trying to make a life in the city, Xavier is warned by his editor back home that happiness is a disaster for fiction.
Overlapping stories of longing are the puzzle of the title: Xavier’s ex Martine (Audrey Tautou) keeps showing up without warning; his lesbian bestie (Cécile De France) is cheating with the babysitter. But the pieces are too haphazardly placed to form a proper whole. There are sweet moments and nods back to ‘L’Auberge’, including a neat trick in which we see snippets from all three films in the credits, but this lacks the magic of its predecessors. In the end, our guy gets the happy ending he wants, and his editor is understandably displeased.