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An inconsistent cultural satire, this mischievous study of the national characteristics that stand in the way of genuine European integration is unfortunately too often sidetracked by melodramatic subplots. As ever, writer/director Cédric Klapisch manipulates his ensemble cast with great skill, particularly when the cosmopolitan students sharing a Barcelona apartment set to gossiping and squabbling. But the pace begins to flag once attention shifts to Romain Duris's relationships with Parisian girlfriend Audrey Tautou and neglected housewife Judith Godrèche. Indeed, the later episodes often descend into a sort of twee travelogue and it's almost a relief when Kevin Bishop (playing the brother of lone Brit Kelly Reilly) arrives to spout some hilariously ill-informed Euro-scepticism.
|Isabelle||Cécile de France|