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Film review

  1. 1. "Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" would be a more fitting title for Gabriele Muccinos latest film, "Kiss Me Again," thesequel to his hugely popular "The Last Kiss," which not only topped the Italian boxoffice but also won the 2002 Sundance AudienceAward and inspired an American remake. This film could easily sweep up with the public again, and will have even greaterinternational appeal given the directors US hits, "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Seven Pounds." But that doesnt make "Kiss MeAgain" a solid or even enjoyable film.Related TopicsTen years later, the group of friends from "The Last Kiss" is back and pushing 40: Carlo (Stefano Accorsi) and Giulia (VittoriaPuccini, who replaces Giovanna Mezzogiorno and is visibly 10 years younger than the rest) are separated after years of his infidelity,and will soon be divorced although he wants her back; the marriage between stuffy, wealthy Marco (Pierfrancesco Favino) andVeronica (Daniela Piazza) is also shaky after years of unsuccessfully trying to have a child; Adriano (Giorgio Pasotti) returns to Romeafter 10 years and some jail time, after having run out on his newborn son and wife Livia (Sabrina Impacciatore), who is now involvedwith Paolo (Claudio Santamaria), who still lives at home and is struggling with serious depression; and Alberto (Marco Cocci) worksin a supermarket, sleeps with countless women and still spouts on about moving to Brazil, because settling down means selling out.If the plot sounds like a soap opera, the film feels like one. Muccino has always made melodramas, but his American outings havebeen much more restrained. Here, as in "The Last Kiss" and "Remember Me," character arcs range from near-hysteria to full-blownhistrionics. Most scenes end in tears or shouting, making "Kiss Me Again" a nearly two-and-a-half-hour parade of overwroughtperformances from a cast that is capable of much more. Even little kids go from zero to 100 in seconds, or accompany steely-eyedgazes with lines like "You abandoned me when I wasnt even a year old ... ."Thankfully, "Kiss Me Again" is gentler with its women than its predecessor. Theyre still various degrees of bitchy, but mostlybecause theyre exasperated by the mens never-ending irresponsibility and/or lack of comprehension. Another saving grace is Favino,one of Italys best film actors, and too often underrated. Despite Marcos fascist leanings, Favino effortlessly makes him the mostsympathetic of the bunch and draws the most heartfelt laughs.Muccinos Italian films are often praised for their Hollywood production values, but once again his work has a polished surface that,unfortunately, belies a weak, repetitive foundation. To top it all off, he even "borrows" from "We All Loved Each Other So Much,"using one of the main locations from Ettore Scolas masterpiece and staging a watered-down version of key scenes from the older film.With all due respect to the actors of "Kiss Me Again," they cannot compare to Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi and Stefano SattaFlores. Nor does Muccino come closeWilliam Tyler Smiths Kiss Me Again concerns the emotional fallout that occurs when a couple who fancies themselves progressiveand liberated attempts to have a sexually open marriage. Jeremy London plays Julian, a professor who is happily married to Chalice(Katheryn Winnick). When a mutual attraction develops between Julian and his student Elena (Mirelly Taylor), Julian begins toquestion his marriage vows. After the couple sees their neighbor engaged in a threesome, Julian broaches the topic of bringing anotherperson into their marital bed. Once the physical feelings have been sated, everyone is left wit the emotional ramifications. Kiss MeAgain made its world premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. ~ Perry Seibert, RoviThis subtitled French-Italian production returns us to the world of The Last Kiss, a film, which was directed by the same director andreleased in 2001. Using mostly the same cast, Gabriele Muccino continues to use his characters , now in their forties, as a soundingboard for life’s complexity, and his film attempts to analyse how human relationships go wrong in people’s lives.Carlo (Steffano Accorsi) has been married to Giulia (a new actress in this part, Vittoria Puccini), and they are separated. It is only theirdaughter, Sveva (Sara Girolami), who keeps them in contact with each other.In the first film, Carlo was enormously stressed by the knowledge that his wife was unfaithful to him, as he was to her, and realisationof his unhappiness is eating into his soul. Giulia now lives with a lover, he disapproves of, and much of the movie is about whether heand Giulia truly love each other, and whether they can trust each other again.Carlo’s friend Alberto (Marco Cocci) is frustrated with life, as he is, and another friend, Marco (Pierfrancesco Favino) is suspicious,as he was, that his wife, Veronica (Daniela Piazza), is having an affair with someone else, a suspicion which turns out to be true.The movie chooses different ways of conveying a variety of moral messages about human fragility and weakness. There is comichandling of the goings-on of Italian males, providing wry social comment on Italian masculinity, dramatic playing-out of the impact ofmental illness on Carlo and his friends, and heavy doses of sugar-encrusted melodrama threading through.
  2. 2. In many ways, this is a movie about discontent and latent unhappiness on multiple fronts, and the characters in the film are flawed bytheir own vulnerability. Muccino shows a confident hand, but it is unlikely that his second look at the diversity of humanity will be aspopular as what he created in his original film - Peter Sheehan, Australian Catholic Office of Film and Broadcasting.Starring Steffano Accorsi, Vittoria Puccini, Sara Girolami, Marco Cocci, and Pierfrancesco Favino. Directed by GabrieleMuccino. Rated MA15+ (Strong sex scenes). 145 min.Kiss Me AgainReview by Margaret PomeranzTen years after the successful Italian film THE LAST KISS, we catch up with the characters as they approach the age of forty in KISSME AGAIN. Carlo, STEFANO ACCORSI, is having second thoughts about having left his wife Giulia, VITTORIA PUCCINI, eventhough they share the care of their daughter.Adriano, GIORGIO PASOTTI, has returned after a 10 year absence wanting to make contact with his son. He abandoned his wifeLivia, SABRINA IMPACCIATORE, and their one year old son, went off adventuring around the world, did two years in prison fortrying to import cocaine. Livia has now established a relationship with Paolo, CLAUDIO SANTAMARIA, who is unable to controlhis mood swings, hes taking medication but it doesnt seem to be helping much.And Marco, PIERFRANCESCO FAVINO, is having troubles in his marriage to Veronica, DANIELA PIAZZA.Its all a bit predictable really, and a little bit histrionic. Writer/director Gabriele Muccino fails to inject the zest of his earlier film,perhaps thats what 10 years does to characters, they become less enthusiastic about life. Many of the scenes are frankly not verycredible. Maybe more so in Italy with an acceptance of that Latin temperament for drama. And it certainly lacks the charm of theoriginal. Its really an Italian soap. Will Marco win back Veronica? Will Carlo win back Giulia? Will Paolo be able to control hismoods so that he can live happily with Livia? Will Adriano establish a relationship with his son?Its not very deep. Its not unenjoyable on one level but its not terribly inspiring catching up with these characters as they go throughmid-life crises. And Adrianos wig is not one of the better ones Ive seen on screen.It could be argued Kiss Me Again was the most anticipated film of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival in 2010, with audiences havingwaited seven years for the sequel to hit The Last Kiss (l’ultimo bacio). In the meantime Gabriele Muccino’s gone to Hollywood andback, buddying up with Will Smith and getting a lot of flak for it. But returning to his homeland, and in particular returning to thecharacters many came to know and love in The Last Kiss, was inevitable.To remain true to time (and ageing faces), Muccino places the timeframe at 10 years past the events of the first film. Kiss Me Againstill focuses on Carlo (Stefano Accorsi) and his relationship with Giulia (Vittoria Puccini), only now daughter Sveva (Sara Girolami)is what’s keeping them together in any form. As in The Last Kiss, Carlo’s many personal issues are somewhat reflected through hisfriends; Alberto (Marco Cocci) still can’t find himself settling down, Marco (Pierfrancesco Favino) can’t shake the feeling wifeVeronica (Daniela Piazza) is having an affair, and Paolo’s (Claudio Santamaria) schizophrenia won’t protect him from a secret hecan’t tell Adriano (Giorgio Pasotti), who’s been M.I.A. for the past two years. While this remains interesting as a real mixed bagyou’re subjected to, it becomes an underlying problem with the story; what has Carlo learnt over the last 10 years? Not a lotobviously… but as Muccino takes us through their intricate web you learn he’s not the only one. Marco endures his fair share ofemasculation (more often than not projected as comical), intended as a stab at the general traditionalism of Italian males; womenGiulia, Veronica and Livia (Sabrina Impacciatore) on the other hand are all involved in relationships they believe are worth it on thesurface but know deep down they can’t work. Fragile but insistent. Muccino’s always one to play with themes of discontent, and hecreates interesting flawed characters in Kiss Me Again – but struggles to find where it all leads.Giovanna Mezzogiorno’s decision not to return for the sequel (interestingly enough there were scripting disagreements over characterdevelopment) will in one way or another affect how you see Kiss Me Again. While Vittoria Puccini does well as Giulia and it’s unfairto compare the two, Mezzogiorno’s strong presence morphs into a portrayal of a weaker Giulia in Kiss Me Again. But while manywould see Mezzogiorno as a loss, it doesn’t count for all of the film’s issues. Notably the extensive 2.5 hours-running time… Muccinoloves telling a story and does it well with good cinematography and character interest, but here he fails to cut out unnecessary bulk inthe body of the film – as it drags you wonder why Accorsi looks so utterly bewildered in some scenes. You can’t deny Muccino usesplenty of drama – stormy days, English power ballads and Italian emotion, but how he throws it in between the comedy – or perhapsthe other way round, comes off as slightly contrived. Kiss Me Again does deserve its merits – Santamaria is particularly powerful asPaolo, and the harsh realities of life aren’t buried underneath any surface. Growing up doesn’t stop when you’re a grown up.