'Meet Me in Montenegro' a scenic but indulgent romantic comedy

It's a wonder the two lead characters in "Meet Me in Montenegro" manage to take in any of the vibrant sights, what with all the navel-gazing that permeates this mopey romantic comedy.

Directed and written by Alex Holdridge and Linnea Saasen, the indie film is a lightly veiled take on their own affair, which took them from a chance meeting in Berlin to the Balkans.

A work-related visit to Germany brings back bittersweet memories for disenchanted American filmmaker Anderson (played by Holdridge), who's still hurting over Norwegian dancer Lina (Saasen) and their ill-fated tryst, which she abruptly ended with no explanation.

But while it's inevitable that they will reconnect, any potential rekindling of the flame must be initially postponed to allow for follow-up analysis of what went wrong in the first place.

Holdridge's previous feature effort, "In Search of a Midnight Kiss" in 2008, showed considerable promise, and he quite obviously has Richard Linklater's truly affecting "Before Sunrise" trilogy in mind here, but the result emerges as a pale imitation.

Although a subplot involving the efforts of a couple (Rupert Friend and Jennifer Ulrich) to spice up their love life proves more compelling, Holdridge and Saasen simply lack the acting chops to carry their feature, leaving them with a scenic but indulgent selfie of a big-screen romance.

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"Meet Me in Montenegro."

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle's Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills.

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