Los Angeles Times

Fast-Paised review: 'Broken English'

After a life of bad relationships and a stomach coated with alcohol and pills, Nora (Parker Posey) worries that something may be wrong with her. Her luck may be changing, though, when she meets a sincere Frenchman (Melvil Poupaud).

Big question: Does this drama from writer-director Zoe Cassavetes offer anything different from the typical New Yorkers-in-love drama?

Catch it: Whether it's the lack of chick-rock songs, slapstick dates or ice cream eating, something in this story about looking for love in all the wrong places actually feels fresh. Maybe it's just the uncharacteristically stripped-down performance from Posey, who breathes intense vulnerability into a woman so desperate for companionship that she can't even pretend to keep things casual but--with men or booze--is almost always up for another round.

Skip it: If you think all performers credit legitimate training for their success. Nora's one-night stand Nick's (Justin Theroux) top-notch education in acting: six months on "Melrose Place"!

Bottom line: Despite its mostly un-mainstream tendencies, this romantic comedy still can't avoid falling back on major coincidences and a single-minded focus on relationships. Yet "Broken English" dares to not wear its heart on its sleeve but expose it crouching in the corner, trying to learn the difference between searching for love and hunting for it.

Bonus: Yikes, few things are quite as uncomfortable as a kiss between an unhappily married couple (Drea de Matteo, Tim Guinee). Keep this in mind before popping the question!

Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.


'Broken English'

Written and directed by Zoe Cassavetes; photographed by John Pirozzi; edited by Andrew Weisblum; music by Scratch Massive; production design by Happy Massee; produced by Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente and Andrew Fierberg. A Magnolia Pictures release; opens Friday at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema. Running time: 1:36. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for some sexual content, brief drug use and language).

Nora - Parker Posey

Julien - Melvil Poupaud

Audrey - Drea De Matteo

Nick - Justin Theroux

Vivien - Gena Rowlands

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