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3 reviews, 4 user ratings

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Jet Lag
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"Flight of fancy"
3 stars

What’s a glamorous beautician to do after accidentally flushing her phone down the airport toilet? Borrow one from the nearest surly Frenchman of course. Thus begins Jet Lag (Décalage horaire), an opposites-attract romantic comedy starring Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno.

Rose (Binoche) is nervous and insecure. She’s breaking a long-term, masochistic relationship with a psycho boyfriend (Sergi López, from Harry, He’s Here to Help) and hides her personality and feelings behind layers of make-up, an elaborate hairdo and too much small talk. Félix (Reno) may lend her his cell phone, but has little interest in striking up an acquaintance. He’s introverted and gruff where she’s expansive, pedantic instead of careless, and clinging to an old relationship rather than ending it.

He’s an expatriate chef, en route to Munich to attend the funeral of his ex-girlfriend’s grandmother, even though their relationship ended nine months ago. Rose has accepted a job in Acapulco. Both are stranded at Paris’s bustling Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport when industrial action and computer failures ground all outward-bound flights. Rose and Félix share a series of brief encounters at the airport before circumstances contrive a shift of location to the Hilton.

You need movie stars and a bright script to sustain a package this slight. Reno’s irascible charm suits the part of Félix, and the jet-lagged gourmand gets the best lines. “This pig died for nothing - the ham’s lousy”, he declares at the hotel. He’s already indiscreetly implied that Rose is an unwelcome combination of mediocrity and complexity.

Binoche hasn’t headlined a comedy like this in a while, and she brings a ditzy elegance to Rose. She needs all the charm she can muster to carry some of the screenplay’s less fortunate lines - homilies about wanting to live life like an American movie, and how we must maintain an interest in people to avoid loneliness.

Director Danièle Thompson filmed at three French airports, including Charles de Gaulle. It’s disappointing that she doesn’t capture the frustration and desperation of being trapped and at the whim of impersonal authorities. There’s no sense of overcrowding or impatience or the exhaustion of real people in a predicament like this. And it’s hard to feel much concern for characters in this situation when they speak the native language and are whisked off to the Hilton for a comfortable sleepover.

Thompson co-wrote the screenplay with her son Christopher. As a romantic comedy about finding love in an unexpected location, Jet Lag is sufficiently light and breezy. But the mood is dampened - and credibility strained - by an excess of coincidences that bring Rose and Félix together, or else tenuously separate them, for plot convenience. When finally united, they have scarcely anything in common. Both are so self-absorbed that any relationship between them is surely doomed.

I suspect their overseas flights have only been postponed, rather than cancelled.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7779&reviewer=104
originally posted: 10/30/03 00:35:28
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/03/14 Jamie Just a delicious, charming movie, wish juliette would do more 5 stars
5/13/09 Nana Actors, setting, delicious 5 stars
2/11/06 Liliane colburn love her work 5 stars
1/08/04 boomting dis film iz heavy it is plausseble 2 a wide range of people gwan JET LAG! 5 stars
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  13-Jun-2003 (R)
  DVD: 20-Jan-2004



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