Like the passenger jet where its central action unfolds, "Love Is in the Air" is a transatlantic affair, a glossy French contraption in the mold of a Hollywood rom-com.
A more straightforward title for "Amour et Turbulences," as it's called in France, would be "Exes on a Plane."
Three years after their breakup, playboy attorney Antoine (Nicolas Bedos) and sculptor Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) are seatmates on a New York-to-Paris flight.
There's still heat between them, and she has a conveniently dull fiancé. As Julie and Antoine rehash their relationship, in all its logic-defying twists, other passengers chime in with questions, advice and encouragement — a device that would be less cringe-inducing if one of them weren't a little girl.
Director Alexandre Castagnetti brightens the written-by-committee proceedings with playful stagings of flashbacks and montages, emphasizing the enterprise's artificiality. But caught as it is between mocking romance clichés and investing in them, the film is too up-in-the-air to succeed on either front, as love story or sendup.
Though the actors' chemistry sets off no fireworks and the story is never truly involving, the movie does manage to avoid being outright painful. That's thanks to creative directorial touches and the spark of Sagnier, trying her hand at romantic comedy. If she tries again, let's hope it's with better material.
"Love Is in the Air."
MPAA rating: None; in French with English subtitles.
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes.
Playing: At the Laemmle Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times