You I Love

on November 19, 2004 by Jordan Reed
When film distributors hear the words "debut feature," they really should be more careful. Or they'll wind up foisting more messes like the Russian duo Olga Stolpovskaya and Dmitry Troitsky's first effort, "You I Love," on the viewing public, ruining their reputations and boring the hell out of us in the process. Just say nyet.

Okay. Deep breath. Here goes. Timofei (Evgeny Koryakovsky) works for a Russian advertising agency, Vera (Lubov Tolkalina) is a TV news anchorwoman, and Uloomji (Damir Badmaev) has a job at the Moscow zoo. Timofei and Vera begin a relationship. Timofei hits Uloomji with his car. Timofei and Uloomji begin a relationship. When Vera finds out, she is troubled, but hangs around anyway. When Uloomji's family finds out, they are more than troubled; they kidnap him to try to prevent him from engaging in homosexuality.

Such are the machinations of "You I Love," a film with remarkably little to recommend it. Labeled by the press notes as a "comedic love story," what it plays for comedy isn't very funny and might offend some homosexuals. It introduces concepts -- such as Vera's foot fetish -- then drops them completely. Even its title is off: Thanks to Stolpovskaya's ridiculous script, none of the main characters exhibit any behavior or personality worthy of the emotion of love. And rarely -- or, on second thought, sadly, fairly often -- do you come across an ending quite as trite.

Just about the only redeeming aspect of "You I Love" are the snippets of one of Timofei's company's ad campaigns. Russian soldiers march around old-school propagandist style. One shouts, "What is freedom?" The others respond, "Freedom is Cola." It's an entertaining -- if also troubling -- statement on the far-reaching hand of consumerism and its inevitable influence on Russian society, but it really shouldn't be the best part of the whole film. Starring Evgeny Koryakovsky, Damir Badmaev and Lubov Tolkalina. Directed and produced by Olga Stolpovskaya and Dmitry Troitsky. Written by Olga Stolpovskaya. A Picture This! release. Russian-language; subtitled. Romantic comedy. Unrated. Running time: 84 min

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