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Americano (2006)

Reviewed By Laura Kyle
Posted 10/29/05 07:00:53

"Well, I want to go to Spain now."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

SCREENED AT THE 2005 AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL: Americano is like an alluring cinematic postcard from Spain.

Joshua Jackson plays Chris, a recent college grad on the fast-track to a successful career in business in the States. But in Americano's first scene, he's hitting the town (Pamplona, specifically) with his buddy Ryan (Timm Sharp) and Ryan's girlfriend Michelle (Ruthanna Hopper), for one last carefree weekend abroad, before diving into the real world routine of money making.

Starring the lovely Spanish countryside, and enriched by heavy attention to the running of the bulls, bullfighting, and the local night life -- where Chris meets a zany party regular (Dennis Hopper) and the free-spirited, spontaneous, passionate beauty Adela (Leonor Varela) -- Americano is dominated by Spain, a world and lifestyle Chris is not so sure he should leave behind.

The three American friends are as ordinary as you'd expect three American friends backpacking through Europe, to be, or at least they are when next to the vibrant and sexy Adela; she asks for Chris to promise to her, that no matter what decision he makes, he'll "do what scares" him.

Jackson and Varela have a certain spark, though it's hard to tell if that'd be the truth for any man told to pretend like he's in love with the breathtaking Chilean.

Penelope Cruz, looks like you've got some mean competition as the Spanish hottie of Hollywood in Varela, even though she's not actually from Spain.

Americano lets the audience soak in the European odyssey, though its plot is fairly underwhelming and its protagonist (Jackson) is really more of a guide than a focal point.

First-time writer/director Kevin Noland ultimately creates a very calm little film that's only mildly inspiring but remarkably agreeable to watch.

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