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Quite amusing, in a certain way.
I'm confident that you won't stumble upon an independent movie weirder than John Turturro's "Romance & Cigarettes" (2007) anytime soon - imagine the love child of a high school musical and a kitchen-sink drama, with genetic flashes of 1950s teen movie quirks and marital crisis soap opera. Yes, the characters sing, yes, they have cinematically dramatic lives, and yes, there is comedy. I admire its spirit, its fearlessness, and the way it nonchalantly brags that it is one of the most one-of-a-kind movies of the 2000s. But I'm not so sure it is an entirely successful film, one minute an off-kilter romp, the next a tragedy in which death is a very real thing. It makes for the kind of movie you admire, not adore; good thing my admiration knows no bounds.
It stars James Gandolfini as Nick Murder, a family man who has begun having an affair with sexy redhead Tula (a likable Kate Winslet), who works at a lingerie store down the street and who talks with an Irish accent either titillating or mood killing, depending on your mindset. Nick has been married to the level headed Kitty (Susan Sarandon) for decades, and is the father of a trio of daughters (Mary Louise Parker, Mandy Moore, Aida Turturro), who, more or less, need to pull their lives together. He is having an affair not because he doesn't love his family but because he is bored by everyday routine; to say he is suffering from a mid-life crisis would be an understatement.
So you could say that Kitty's discovery of the going-ons is a virtue in disguise - it causes Nick to see clearly for the first time in years, as he is given the opportunity to either throw away what he has worked hard for in his personal life or to gain new perspective and realize just how lucky of a man he is. Unfortunately, though, his compulsive utilizations of romance and cigarettes may be lethal. Overweight, chain-smoking adulterers are never visions of health, and Nick is no exception.
Though I like the way Turturro tells the story - he mixes wise ass comedy, painstakingly realistic family drama, and makeshift musicality - I cannot say that he does so without expected setbacks. To have the cast sing with classic songs rather than belt them out alone with "Grease" theatricality is appealing but also ersatz; while some scenes are bettered by the aforementioned risk, others go way far out of place, particularly the opening number, if I can even call it a "number." The comedy goes for out-there dryness, fitting most of the time until the ending goes against the tone the film works so hard for. At least the cast, indelibly charismatic, is game; sometimes, they convince us "Romance & Cigarettes" is a great film. But once it ends and we're forced to look opinion face to face, it becomes necessary to make the decision as to whether or not supporting player Christopher Walken embodying a musical star is a saving grace.
It's all very uneven, but there are components of the movie that work very well; some will love how far beyond it strays from usual musical fare, while others may be confused as to what film Turturro is necessarily trying to make. My opinion crosses both paths, that works well enough for me.
Brave, original, challenging and engaging. It doesn't always work but if it did perhaps it would have lacked that element of realism that just shines out it - this is a beautiful, flawed creation, just like each of the characters in it.
I can't tell you that there are more than 3 musical films that I have ever enjoyed I usually avoid them because I find them to be a bit banal and lacking in any forum of what cinema struggles to be. However this film does not try to impress with its musical score Noor try to prove that the actors can sing. It uses songs to enhance the already written script. What I like most is that they show how incredible and diverse James Gandolfini can be as an actor. I find that his best rolls are far away from d mafioso and murderous stereo type that he often found himself playing. If anyone wants to truly understand the dynamics that Mr Gandolfinis acting abilities were capable of, films like this and the highly underrated film Welcome To The Rileys and but more recent Enough Said, or a breakthrough for such an incredibly diverse actor. Anyone could ever met Jim Gandolfini new that not only was he opposed to violence, he was also one of the most giving and caring actors of our generation . This film I would urge many to watch especially if that person finds himself disliking movie musicals such is myself. This film will surprise you not only because of big huge plethora of great actors in one Ensemble but is Roger Ebert gave it 4 out of 4 stars, this film does not try too hard and the musical score is part of the comedy and is not intended for the actors to make them believe that they are actually great singers unlike most musicals in the past two decades. The score is terrific and every song applies to the storyline perfectly. My advice to any person who has had any appreciation for the work of James Gandolfini I suggest looking for his films where he is not a sociopathic killer or violent hitman. And as you can see the preferred to play touching and blew everybody away with how one of the greatest actors who have ever lived had long struggled to prove how great he was at being a comedian and dramatic actor and thus allowing his fans and viewers to actually see inside the real James Gandolfini.
Such a bad movie, very tough to watch. I was thinking since James was in it that it might be good but even he can't save this terrible movie
This movie is weird. I would not recommend wasting the time to watch it.
Decent movie. Very wacky. Good acting. The plot was very weird and out of control though.
An odd musical by John Turturro that's a bit of a mess, the strong cast keeps it watchable and it is amusing at times. Earns most of its two stars for an astoundingly beautiful scene where Kate "Wobblers" Winslet wobbles her wobblers like they've never been wobbled before! Damn, she's talented!
Different, fun, dark and a bit of a thinker. Love it.
Un musical molto ironico, colorato, a tratti divertente, che alla fine scade nel melodramma. Ma è stato uno spasso più per chi l'ha realizzato che per chi l'ha visto. Almeno fuori dagli USA.