Chinese Puzzle – reviews of 'zesty' Franglais rom-com

Jun 20, 2014

Duris and Tautou star in sexy, witty New York finale to the Spanish Apartment trilogy

Chinese Puzzle

What you need to know

French-American romantic comedy, Chinese Puzzle, opens in UK cinemas today. The film, directed by Cedric Klapisch, is the third instalment in his Franglais 'Spanish Apartment trilogy' following L'Auberge Espagnol and Russian Dolls.

Romain Duris stars as writer Xavier, who follows his ex-wife Wendy (Kelly Reilly) to New York to be closer to his children. But his new life has many complications, including a green card marriage and the reappearance of his ex-girlfriend Martine (Audrey Tautou).

What the critics like

Cedric Klapisch's zesty New York follow-up "serves as a seductive advertisement for modern urban living", says Charles Gant in Variety. It retains the energy and zing of the earlier films but dials down the youthful angst, to deliver witty, sexy fare that's the fast-food equivalent of Richard Linklater's thematically weightier 'Before' trilogy.

It's "a satisfying conclusion" to the Spanish Apartment trilogy, says Patrick Peters in Empire. Klapisch captures the urban mood with ebullient aplomb, while amusing himself with François Truffaut-style flourishes.

This "light-hearted romantic jumble" packs a surprising emotional punch, says Bilge Ebiri on Vulture. The storytelling has an infectious energy, embracing its many complications to find moments of profundity.

What they don't like

Fans of the trilogy might be disappointed by the final instalment, says Carla Sosenko on Time Out. There are sweet moments but the pieces are haphazardly put together and it "lacks the magic of its predecessors".

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