Jenia Tanaeva makes her screen debut as the star and co-writer of the melodramatic love story “See You Soon,” a soapy tale of an impossible affair between an American soccer star, Ryan Hawkes (Liam McIntyre) and a Russian single mom, Lana (Tanaeva).
David Mahmoudieh directs, from the script by Tanaeva and Mike Cestari, in an uncanny valley of turquoise and white CGI backdrops that make up everything from the soccer pitch to the cruise ship where Ryan and Lana meet cute. She’s reeling from an abusive, unfaithful marriage and working as a bartender on the ship; he’s recovering from a car accident that almost killed him, his fiancée and his career. From these tragic situations they find love — when he hits on her at work, naturally.
Tanaeva claims to have been inspired by “An Affair to Remember,” but weirdly, every step of their flirtation and whirlwind romance follows the courtship blueprint spun by “The Bachelor” franchise — a fun day, a sexy, romantic dinner, the “fantasy suite.” That’s not the only fantasy the film perpetuates, offering up the kind of Cinderella story that undergirds international marriage tourism and “mail-order brides.” Ryan is an über-wealthy American hunk who saves this gorgeous, humble Russian woman and her son from a life of poverty and in doing so, saves himself from a tacky, materialistic American woman.
The whole film is a bizarre exercise in fantasy-building on a budget, from the computer-generated sets to the over-long, predictable story. What’s even stranger is the sight of Harvey Keitel making an appearance as Ryan’s demanding agent.
Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills