This one I recommend.

Nick (Gandolfini) with his mistress Tula (Winslet).

Hilarious; refreshingly different

A film directed by John Turturro (!) where Christopher Walken sings Tom Jones’ “Delilah”? Now I have seen everything. Okay, no I haven’t, but I have seen Romance & Cigarettes and so should you.

I’ll tell you right away that the rom-com (a.ka Romantic Comedy) isn’t exactly my favourite genre. Rarely do I discover a rom-com that isn’t formulaic, tiresomely predictable and unoriginal. This is one of those rarities. Romance & Cigarettes is a clever and unique film, a musical I might add, with amusing characters, a fine cast and a good choice of songs. Yes, a musical.

The story revolves around the greatly unstable marriage of Nick Murder (James Gandolfini) and Kitty Kane Murder (Susan Sarandon); it’s at its worst when it is revealed that Nick has been having sex – lots of it – with another woman, Tula (Kate Winslet). Kitty becomes furious, even going as far as to tell his husband that she despises him. He thinks little of this at first, but he eventually starts to fear that Kitty might return to her old husband and leave him for good. Nick also lets Tula decide certain things for him. For instance, Tula enjoys circumcised penes, so he proceeds to get rid of his… well, you know. This causes him to start to grow tired of Tula and want to return to Kitty.

Meanwhile, Kitty develops a hatred towards men in general, it seems, and so she refuses to let her daughter (Mandy Moore) marry her boyfriend (Bobby Cannavale). Not only that, but her cousin Bo (Walken) shows up and joins her on a quest to find Tula and apparently kill her. Did I mention that this film’s kind of weird?

Christopher Walken in the best scene in the movie.

Smaller roles are given to Steve Buscemi and Eddie Izzard, who play Nick’s co-worker and a church organist respectively. There are many interesting characters in the film, and since the Coen-brothers were involved in the making, this is presumably not a huge surprise.

Like I said earlier, the film is a musical, although it has no original songs. Instead it includes songs by Tom Jones, Elvis, Connie Francis and many more. I actually thought that made the film funnier. In the middle of something happening, suddenly the whole town randomly starts singing “A Man Without Love” or something like that. I don’t think I can explain why exactly, but I find it funnier than if they were to start singing some unknown song written for the film.

Of course, Christopher Walken is the one who gets the greatest scene in the film – the one where his character sings “Delilah” by Tom Jones. Other memorable scenes include the two times when Winslet’s character sings and really, most of the other musical numbers.

Romance & Cigarettes is a film I recommend. If you’re getting tired of all those boringly predictable rom-coms than this is the film for you. A little bit weird and audacious it certainly is, but it’s definitely refreshing to see such a surprise-stuffed, different and unusually amusing rom-com. I think we should all thank John Turturro for giving us this movie.

This film is positively lovely. It has amusing and fascinating characters, a good choice of love songs, very good acting (that of Walken, Winslet and Buscemi, especially), hilarious dialogue and, once again, wonderful surprises almost every single scene. Romantic comedies need to learn from this movie – don’t be afraid of being clever and original.

I have seen romantic comedies before;  I keep guessing what is going to happen as I watch them. When watching Romance & Cigarettes I wasn’t right once. I find that rather admirable.

4/5 whatever.

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