A number of years ago, the SCTV comedy troupe did a wild parody about the Actor's Studio doing a method-acting version of James Stewart's whimsical fantasy Harvey. That was outrageously funny. Romance & Cigarettes tries to do a method-acting interpretation of a magic-realist musical, only it isn't a parody. It isn't funny, magical, or realistic. In fact, it's downright unwatchable.
Nick Murder (James Gandolfini) is a construction worker who may be in love with a wildly profane redhead, Tula (Kate Winslet). When his wife (Susan Sarandon) suspects something, she employs her hipster Cousin Bo (Christopher Walken) to help her get to the bottom of it. Throughout this outlandishly misconceived melodrama, writer/director John Turturro has the characters shrieking pop songs—from Tom Jones to Erma Franklin—that reflect their inner romantic turmoil. They should all be hosed down. Romance & Cigarettes is so loud and deliberately boorish you'd think Ralph Kramden was directing Pennies From Heaven.
Cast: James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi and Christopher Walken
Director/Screenwriter: John Turturro
Producers: John Penotti and John Turturro
Genre: Musical drama
Rating: R for sexual content including some strong dialogue, and language
Running time: 105 min.
Release date: September 7, 2007 NY, December 21 LA
Reviewed: 2005 Toronto International Film Festival