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Movie review: Romantic struggles grow stale in ‘Chinese Puzzle’
First Published Jun 05 2014 03:23 pm • Last Updated Jun 06 2014 12:58 pm

In the romantic comedy "Chinese Puzzle," writer-director Cédric Klapisch continues the journey of the globe-hopping, bed-hopping Europeans of "L’Auberge Espagnole" (2002) and "Russian Dolls" (2005) — but the result isn’t as enjoyable this time around.

The central character, economist-turned-novelist Xavier (Romain Duris), is turning 40 and his life is in chaos. His English wife, Wendy ("Black Box" star Kelly Reilly), is leaving him for another man and taking their kids to New York to be with him. This prompts Xavier to move to New York, where he tries to dodge immigration problems by marrying a Chinese-American woman (Li Jun Li).

At a glance


‘Chinese Puzzle’

Opens Friday, June 6, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for sexual content, nudity and language; in English, and French with subtitles; 117 minutes.

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Meanwhile, his lesbian Belgian pal, Isabelle (Cécile de France), is married to Ju (Sandrine Holt), also Chinese-American, and asks Xavier to donate sperm so she can have a baby. Also, his ex, Martine (Audrey Tautou), visits, and old sparks rekindle.

Klapisch mines some sly humor out of Xavier’s cross-cultural mishaps, as well as some flights of fancy (like having him get advice from dead German philosophers). But the romantic round-robin is getting stale on this third go-round, and we’re left waiting for Xavier to finally grow up.

movies@sltrib.com; www.sltrib.com/entertainment

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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