Jet Lag

on June 13, 2003 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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When an airport strike strands two strangers at the Paris airport, they cross paths and begin a relationship of sorts, punctuated by squabbling and bickering. It's The French "Odd Couple" crossed with "When Harry Met Sally" and, despite its superior actors and performances, it's an utterly unsurprising romantic comedy. The luminous Juliette Binoche plays Rose, an overly made-up insecure woman who's running away from her boyfriend. Jean Reno is Felix, a neurotic man who escapes into work so as not to have any human contact. Initially, the film shows promise, with a few smart scenes, revolving around the pair being continually unable to leave the airport, that hint at a truly funny farce along the classic lines of "The Mad Adventures of 'Rabbi' Jacob," the hilarious French comedy that "Jet Lag"s co - writer/director Daniele Thompson penned nearly 30 years ago. The characters also offer much at first. Rose, who's scared to actually end her relationship with her abusive boyfriend (Sergi Lopez, who is good but given only one scene in the film), is quite touching and sympathetic. Reno ("Mission Impossible"), who rarely gets leading man roles, captures the appeal of Felix, who can't begin to admit he's developed feelings for Rose as she is supposedly beneath his class. When the two are forced to share a hotel room, there's one riveting scene in which the two tentatively, believably feel each other out about their past histories. Yet the hope that "Jet Lag" will develop into a fresh comedy is dashed as Thompson twists her plot into a series of frenzied, unfunny scenarios that can--and do--only end one way. In that light, Binoche and Reno, as authentic as they are in their roles, can only go helplessly along with the film's contrivances. Increasingly tiresome, "Jet Lag" finally lives up to its title and wears the viewer out. Starring Juliette Binoche, Jean Reno and Sergi Lopez. Directed by Daniele Thompson. Written by Daniele Thompson and Christopher Thompson. Produced by Alain Sarde. A Miramax release. Comedy/Drama. French-language, subtitled. Rated R for language and brief sexuality. Running time: 91 min
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