Chinese Puzzle is neither a puzzle nor particularly Chinese—but apparently American Quilt was already taken. The third in Cédric Klapisch’s ebullient trilogy of beautiful French people in beautiful places, falling in and out of love—the first two were L’Auberge Espagnole (2002) and Russian Dolls (2005)—Chinese Puzzle is a somewhat more grizzled and interesting affair, if still ridiculously sunny. The character ensemble is now approaching 40 and still acting like lovesick puppies, but they are lovesick puppies with tween children and artificial inseminations and immigration problems (solved, of course, by sham marriages to beautiful Chinese-American women). Audrey Tautou’s character has shed her elfin naivete for the weary romance of the familiar, while the trilogy’s oh-so-emo writer hero (Romain Duris) now sees his life show up on his face in crinkles, a wan grimace, and a crisp set of divorce papers. For once, you almost believe his troubles. Oh, and everyone’s in New York. And New York is amazing, a place where money doesn’t really matter. Everyone is from somewhere else—Africa, France, China, U.K., who cares?—everyone’s nice deep down, and love is in the air, just one brush of the cheek away. It is a brazenly unrepentant fable of multiculti dreaminess, a bawdy sitcom whose credits will roll only when everyone’s laughing on the same side of the table. When you’re happy, says Duris’ character, that’s when the story ends. And so it does.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Monday, May 26, 2014
- MPAA Rating: R
- Critic's Score: B
- Watch the trailer