Romance and Cigarettes

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Romance and Cigarettes
Review (5.5/10)
(By Liam Cullin)


Romance and Cigarettes is a story about just that. The first half of the story deals with Nick Murder (James Gandolfini) and the fact that he's cheating on his wife Kitty (Susan Sarandon) with Tula (Kate Winslet). And why not? Tula is a smokin' hot red-headed woman who's got one of the dirtiest mouths I've ever seen on a woman. The things that she said were pretty wild and risque - and the only thing that ruined it was the fact that she was saying them to a guy like Nick. How the fuck did he land a snatch like that?! Sexy, baby. S-E-X-Y. Plus, I love a girl with an accent. Then, there's the second half of the story. Cigarettes. And we all know what happens to people who smoke too many cigarettes. But, to narrow down the movie to just that would be an injustice, because there's so much more. There's Nick's three daughters Rosebud (Aida Turturro), Constance (Mary-Louise Parker) and Baby (Mandy Moore) who each have their own little stories going on. Then there's Nick's best friend Angelo (Steve Buscemi) who I don't really remember why he was in the movies. And there's Kitty's cousin Bo (Christopher Walken) who sings a little song and does a little dance just like every other character, because here's the catch -- the movie is a musical. Sort of.

How do you make a "sort of" musical? Well, you get a basic story about a man cheating on his wife, and every once in a while when your characters run out of things to say, they break out in song and dance lip-synching (and sometimes actually singing) to some catchy tunes that best tell the story and how their characters are feeling. Perhaps the best numbers to come out of this movie are any scene involving Christopher Walken (of course!), Mandy Moore who actually surprised me with her acting abilities let alone her ability to belt out a good tune, a nice touching song from James Gandolfini and best of all the "Red Headed Woman" scene about Kate Winslet's character. "Little tight skirt, strawberry hair, tell me what you've got, baby, waiting under there." You can't beat lyrics like that, baby. (It doesn't hurt that I'm married to a red-headed woman myself!)

So, after all that, it'd seem that I'm recommending this movie. Hot chick. Dirty sex. Decent songs. Well, get ready for this, because I'm kinda mixed on this movie. Sure, it's fun and original and different from pretty much anything I've seen in recent memory (a comparison to The Singing Detective wouldn't be totally out of line) but in the end, I don't know what I was expecting but, it didn't quite work. Did it hurt that I missed the first 5 minutes of the movie? Yes. Did it hurt that the movie was constantly interrupted for me by people walking out? Yes. (I counted more than 40! How was I suppose to concentrate?!) On the flip side, did it hurt that the movie got a round of applause at the end? No. So who am I to say?

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention director John Turturro. I'll give credit for the guy putting something original out there but, in the end, for all the individual parts of the movie that were good, they just didn't add up to all that great a movie as a whole. It was like going out for a steak dinner where the steak is great and the dessert is sweet and succulent, but the potatoes are cold and the wine is weak. Would I visit that restaurant again? Not bloody likely.

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