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Overall Rating
4.27

Awesome46.15%
Worth A Look: 42.31%
Average: 3.85%
Pretty Bad: 7.69%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 20 user ratings


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Foreign Affair, A (2 Brothers and a Bride)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Better than any five rom/coms out there...not that that's saying much."
4 stars

American romantic comedies, for the most part, suck. Let's face it: the studios will always keep churning out the exact same female wish-fulfillment chaff as long as the grosses stay around $60 million domestic. Which means we'll see more Kate Hudson/Sandra Bullock/Meg Ryan movies that offer nothing new, nothing funny, and absolutely nothing worthwhile. And watch: a clever little romance like this one will struggle to earn one-fifth of J. Lo's latest paycheck.

If you're expecting the same old mistaken identity/idiots in love with the wrong person formula schtick, leave those expectations at the door with this movie. A Foreign Affair may not be a revolutionary tale in its own right, but it succeeds mainly by not being the 'same old thing'. Plus it's sweet in some spots, funny in others, and oddly touching throughout.

Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother Where Art Thou?) and David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks) star as Josh and Jake, two small-town vegetable farmers and brothers who know next to nothing about women. When their doting old mother passes away in the night, the brothers' biggest concern (aside from the burial of course) is finding a new woman to take care of them.

Now before you get your panties in a bunch, keep in mind that these guys are fairly slow. Not stupid or near-retarded like you'd see in a sitcom, but just a bit naive - and more than a little lacking in social skills. Their plan to 'share' a wife is borne from their inability to cook and keep a suitable house; sex is not a priority. Imagine two overgrown (and surprisingly endearing) boys looking for a suitable nanny.

Since these guys have virtually no chance of landing a lady through conventional methods, Josh books two tickets to Russia as part of the "Foreign Affair" singles program. In theory, it's a great outfit: lonely men looking for wives attend a series of 'socials', meet-markets intended to pair up single men with green card-hungry gals. Only when you inject the whole "love" concept does the program seem a bit...icky.

But these boys aren't exactly looking for love, and that's one of the main reasons that A Foreign Affair is a surprisingly unique little flick. Much like last year's wholly underrated Birthday Girl, loneliness (and not horniness) is what sets things in motion.

Tim Blake Nelson is a great actor. If all you know of this guy is his work in O Brother and Minority Report, you're missing a lot. Though an untraditional sort of 'leading man', Nelson owns this movie whole. More of a surprise is the excellent work by David Arquette, who deftly avoids the wide-eyed hysterics that he usually employs. The guy's certainly no Olivier, but A Foreign Affair marks a confident step forward for the former 1-800-COLLECT pitchman.

Intent on stealing the heart of every man who sees her is an actress named Emily Mortimer. American audiences know her best from flicks like Scream 3 and The Kid, though her stunning turn in indie flick Lovely and Amazing is something that deserves to be seen. This time around, Mortimer plays a British documentarian alternately fascinated and bemused by the whole "Foreign Affair" scenario. Needless to say, the actress is great here, bringing a down-to-earth 'everygirl' sensibility to her role - one that's entirely necessary for one to accept the late-stage romantic entanglements.

Overall, the flick's a charmer; an unassuming and quietly confident little movie that delivers affable characters, a clever concept, some winning visual flairs, and a few mild lessons along the way. All in all, a solid indie that should manage to find a small (yet appreciative) audience.

A Foreign Affair is an altogether enjoyable diversion, a light and clever comedy that offers some great performances in a unique setting. Plus it's about ten times more sincere and entertaining than what normally passes for romantic comedies these days. Keep an eye on your local 'art houses' and toss this one a few bucks when it stops by.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6932&reviewer=128
originally posted: 01/29/03 10:48:09
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/21/14 Charles Tatum Overly quirky, and I sometimes hated the brothers! 3 stars
6/30/07 Roz Elkington gentle, insightful, 'different' and genuine; ending seems too rushed and confused? 4 stars
12/04/05 henry kamenecka touching, funny, unexpected at times and with pathos- a gem! 5 stars
5/07/05 Robert Loved it! Lois Smith is HOT 5 stars
3/15/05 P Walton liked it 5 stars
9/14/04 David Bijker Very different than most indie movies, definitely worth a look! 5 stars
8/26/04 Chris Mardorf Surprisingly good, humorous with a dark subtext 4 stars
7/28/04 Elizabeth As a comedy, it totally missed the mark. 2 stars
7/16/04 Jim Sanders Difficult to understand just how it ended 2 stars
5/15/04 Ray Remarkable!!! 5 stars
5/15/04 Everett Vander Horst A film surprisingly rich in wisdom and class 5 stars
5/14/04 Phil Koole Not your odinary Hollywood romance, which is refreshing. Solid acting and camera work. 4 stars
5/13/04 Harry Plantinga Very enjoyable, laugh-out-loud funny, touching. 5 stars
5/10/04 Louisa Hough A great movie - very funny and a refreshing change from the usual hollywood 'cheese'! 5 stars
5/09/04 Bob Unferth Charming and fun; and a little bit more. 4 stars
4/22/04 Michael J. Van Denend Outstanding film of graceful humor and insight! 5 stars
4/21/04 JP van Seventer Clever, witty, engaging, good acting, excellent screenplay 5 stars
2/04/03 Tim Blackmon This movie shows great insight into the human condition and heart! 5 stars
2/03/03 Kris Morrison A very funny movie with fine performances by the lead actors. 4 stars
2/02/03 agaath ten Herkel great, intelligent, humouristic, excellent takes 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-May-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 06-Jul-2004

UK
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