Broken English

Film
3 out of 5 stars
FOOD FIGHT Posey and Poupaud share an unhappy meal.
FOOD FIGHT Posey and Poupaud share an unhappy meal.

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Pitched somewhere between Papa John’s excoriating character studies and the commercial flotsam of her brother Nick (Alpha Dog), Zoe Cassavetes’s directorial debut follows a woman (Posey) under the influence of paralyzing loneliness. After sleeping with a self-absorbed movie star and having a blind date turn into a dead end, she momentarily entertains moving to Paris with the impossibly hot and blissfully uncomplicated French dude (Poupaud) who worships her...only that would mean she’d actually have to make a choice. What to do? The perpetual indecision doesn’t start and stop with the heroine, however; the movie never makes up its mind whether it’s going to be a left-of-center indie comedy for the Oxygen-channel set or a Sex and the City episode just edgy enough for Sundancers.

The fence-straddling would be fatal if it weren’t for Posey, who takes what’s essentially a character sketch and turns it into a three-dimensional mess in a dress. She’s the kind of actor who could make a nursery rhyme seem nerve-janglingly neurotic, and her brittle readings give the film a much-needed emotional grounding. Listening to the way Posey makes the exclamation “Barf!” a barometer of wounded cynicism, you almost don’t mind suffering through plot contrivances like lost phone numbers and empowering transatlantic jaunts. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — David Fear

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