Just a Kiss

Just a Kiss is the type of romantic comedy that bills itself as a new and fresh look at the war of the sexes. In actuality, it may be a different look, but it is just as annoying if not more than most other genre films. Just a Kiss is not really funny at all. Everybody in the movie complains more than anything else, and there are not that many great qualities to redeem these people. The story follows a group of people as they deal with infidelity. One act leads to more, and it becomes a great big mix and match of couples. It all begins when Dag (Ron Eldard, Black Hawk Down, Mystery, Alaska) gets together with Rebecca (Marley Shelton, Bubble Boy, Valentine). Dag and Rebecca each have significant others, and all four are friends. Writer Patrick Breen (East of A, Phineas) and director Fisher Stevens (Phineas) try some things they think are clever to spice up the movie.

The two obvious things are the jumbled time and the rotoscoping. Just a Kiss unfolds a little at a time, jumping back and forth in time to reveal further insight into what is happening. It's not too distracting, but doesn't add anything to the story. The rotoscoping is just annoying. At certain points in the movie, actors, backgrounds, objects, or all of the above will look animated. It's hard to say what the point of this is, aside from thinking it looks cool. It detracts from the movie more than it adds to it. Then comes the ending, which people will either think is extremely clever, a cop out, lame, or some combination of the three. It probably falls toward the latter half. Anyway, Dag's girlfriend Halley (Kyra Sedgwick, Montana, What's Cooking?) finds out about the fling and leaves Dag. She moves into Rebecca's apartment, where she meets Andre (Taye Diggs, New Best Friend, The Way of the Gun). Meanwhile, Dag hates the fact that he screwed up, and tries to make it up to Rebecca's boyfriend, and his friend Pete (Patrick Breen). Dag meets Paula (Marisa Tomei, In the Bedroom, Someone Like You), a bartender in the local bowling alley.

Pete, thoroughly disheartened, goes to the airport and meets Colleen (Sarita Choudhury, Trigger Happy, Restless) and decides to fly on the same plane with her. It's important to remember that every time somebody meets someone else in Just a Kiss, it almost inevitably leads to a coupling. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just that things feel both forced and arbitrary, as Breen tries to turn this into a wicked comedy. As the permutations increase, the story explodes into fantastic proportions. Coincidence and fate play into the lives of these characters, but what Stevens and Breen has happen is so far out there that things get ludicrous. All of this is for laughs, but aside from Tomei, all of the characters are too shallow and uninteresting for the viewer to even want to pay attention to them.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 29 minutes, Rated R for strong sexual images and language.

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