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L'Auberge Espagnole   D-

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Year Released: 2002 (USA: 2003)
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Cédric Klapisch
Writer: Cédric Klapisch
Cast: Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Cécile De France, Judith Godreche, Kelly Reilly, Xavier De Guillebon, Kevin Bishop.

Review by Sean O'Connell

MTV's listless reality program The Real World has yet to stage a season in Barcelona, Spain. Now, thanks to Cedric Klapisch's equally juvenile L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment), the network doesn't have to bother.

Translated as "Euro Pudding," Klapisch's cross-sampling of culture lumps unbearably attractive twentysomethings into one house and encourages us to peer in as their implausible existences unfold. The catalyst is Xavier (Romain Duris), a French economics student juggling the girl he left back home (Audrey Tautou), the married lady he's currently romancing, and his eclectic assortment of roommates.

But Espagnole is written with the insight of a grad school student spending his first week away from home. Few legitimate life experiences back up the flimsy script. I'm not saying the film's shallow, but you could squeeze the philosophies of these students into a shot glass.

At first, Klapisch piques our interest with visual tricks to display life's mundane tasks. But after 15 minutes, he abandons all gimmicks and allows the most mundane plotlines to fill the screen. Nothing's learned, and nothing's retained. L'Auberge Espagnole merely crams a whole season of Real World fights, flings, cover-ups and send-off parties into one bloated pastry of a film.

Review published 07.30.2003.

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