was the last artistically worthy romantic comedy you have seen? If you say When Harry Met Sally, Argentinian film
reviewer Victor Tellez will want to kill you, or himself. He might let you get
away with Bringing Up Baby—maybe.
However anything that recycles those shopworn rom-com conventions produces
nothing but bile from the jaded critic. One can therefore imagine Tellez’s
surprise and conflicted responses when those same clichés start intruding upon
his real life in director-screenwriter Hernán Guerschuny’s The Film Critic (trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.
is happy to explain why Cassavetes represents real cinema, but day after day he
slumps through press screenings of the latest sugar-coated tripe. After coffee
with his equally snobbish colleagues, he proceeds to eviscerate the latest
offensively inoffensive pop culture trifle in his newspaper review. At this
point, Tellez has a rep for critical stinginess, but he is not exactly flush.
That is why he is so put out when a Spanish expat grabs the perfect affordable
apartment out from under him.
finds it rather strange when their paths subsequently cross, but pursues Sofia
hoping to talk her out of the flat. Instead, he finds himself on a colorful
first date kind of thingy. You know exactly where the story is headed from
here. There will be rain showers, contrived misunderstandings, walks in the
park, and fireworks. Yet, Guerschuny scrupulously observes each formulaic
element in order to give it an acerbic twist. In fact, this film just might
surprise you and therefore Tellez.
Tellez, Rafael Spregelburd is a paragon of reserve and restraint, so when he
gives us something, it is significant. His chemistry with Dolores Fonzi’s
defiantly upbeat and middlebrow Sofia is perfectly awkward, yet strangely
believable. Telma Crisanti also gives the film periodic energy boasts, nicely playing
off Spregelburd as his hipster video store clerk niece, even though her subplot
becomes unwieldy over time.
Frankly, how could anyone find the trials and
tribulations of a principled film critic anything less than compelling? Guerschuny’s
script is smart enough to pass muster even with Tellez and his grumpy
colleagues and as in any rom-com worth its salt, he incorporates some lovely
Buenos Aires backdrops. It is a pleasure to watch it all come together.
Recommended with real affection for those appreciate sophisticated comedies, The Film Critic opens this Friday (5/15)
in New York, at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Argentine Cinema, Critics in film, Movie Romance