"All the pretty people..where do they all come from?"
"Bossa Nova" is a finely tuned, somewhat engaging, beautifully shot romantic comedy that suffers from split personality syndrome; a movie that wants to have one common arc yet focuses on far too many characters, and can't decide where to set its sights directly on. Shame, really, because the film has ambition and heart ready to go, it just has nowhere to put it.Set in Rio De Janerio, Brazil, the film's very minor plot involves the interconnecting love lifes of a group of people. There's an English teacher who is lusted after by a lawyer who recently split up with his wife and went off with a Japanese aerobisist. Then there's the english teacher's friend recently struck up a internet relationship. There's also the lawyer's temp who loves a famous soccer player who is getting english lessons, and she ignores the wooing by a poet. And so on, a whole collection of people in love in good 'ol Rio.
Right there, it sounds like an Altman film: throw a bunch of connected characters together with desires and dreams, and for some of the part the film works, of people wanting love and feeling pressure, to go along with the delightful production design with warm colors, wide angles and lively music beats.
Though, Altman's characters had a reason to flow from one scene to the next as real people move in life, here it sort of bounces from a plot point to the next, dragging the characters along the way. As well, at points it tries too hard to be a slapstick comedy, including a very unfunny hospital scene that throws a death and an internet relationship meeting together, mixing comedy and drama in the wrong way."Bossa Nova", directed by Brazilian Bruno Baretto, ("Donna Flor and her Two Husbands," "Carried Away") hits some good notes and misses on others, gets some good performances and some bad ones, and still comes out as a harmless romantic comedy which is quite enjoyable, despite the obvious.