Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Chinese Puzzle

Chinese Puzzle
Romain Duris, Kelly Reilly, Cecile de France and Sandrine Holt

Rated: R for sexual content, nudity and language.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 6, 2014 Released by: Cohen Media Group

A dramedy that rewards viewers who've stayed with this cinematic serialization over a dozen years is agreeably polished though less emotionally buoyant.

Chinese Puzzle is a polyglotted construct around the difficulties endured by young middle age writer Xavier Rousseau (Romain Duris) who agrees to be a sperm donor and becomes involved in a marriage of convenience with a Chinese-American girl. That's after an amicable custody arrangement is made with long-time English amour Wendy (Kelly Reilly) on how the two children are to be raised as he follows her to New York after meeting and falling for a businessman (Peter Hermann).

Writer/director Cedric Klapisch has an exuberance for an array of plot threads with characters not that richly drawn though Martine (Audrey Tautou) an ex of Xavier does stand out in an engaging way like Duris. From the music, editing and lensing with some early animation an agile indie type of Modern Family is offered with a big moment for Xavier when it comes to Martine, Wendy and Isabelle (Cecile de France) his lesbian friend also in the Big Apple to share a life with Ju (Sandrine Holt).

The way the characters move around and devices in storytelling reminiscent of icons in show business like Woody Allen still have a philosophically witty, yet perfunctory feel but the talents of the stars are there to be enjoyed in what seems like precious figures moved around than a truly amusing, poignant original full-bodied look at Xavier and the finely etched women and children in his milieu.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Chinese Puzzle        C+                     C+ 

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