Venus and Mars

When Venus and Mars align in the sky, love is in the air, or so says Emily Vogel (Lynn Redgrave, Hansel & Gretel, Spider). Hopefully, this will work out for four friends, two of them returning to the small German town where they grew up. Their soccer coach died, so it's not the greatest of times for a reunion, but hey, Venus and Mars needs some sort of plot right? There really isn't anything inherently bad about this film. It's one of those small films that is trying to be cute, and tries a little too hard. The film has too many characters, too many happy endings, and comes off more bland than anything else.

Emily's daughter Kay (Daniela Lunkewitz, Children of Dune, Facade) is a waitress in Frankfurt. She hated the small town where she grew up, and escaped as soon as possible. Because of issues in her past, Kay has a hard time opening up and trusting men, so when the rugged, handsome Cody (Michael Weatherly, Trigger Happy, Gun Shy) appears in town, it's obvious to everyone except Kay that she will fall for him. Cody is an American backpacker, stuck because he lost his pack. The other disgruntled expatriate is Lisa (Julie Bowen, Amy's Orgasm, Joe Somebody), a photographer in San Francisco. Now, she is pining after a gay hotelier, while cabbie Roberto (Ryan Hurst, We Were Soldiers, Remember the Titans) pines after her. What these two women have in common is a profound inability to grasp the obvious.

The other two women get the short end of the stick from screenwriter Ben Taylor (In the Flesh, Talk of the Town). Marie (Julia Sawalha, Chicken Run, A Midwinter's Tale) is pregnant again feels a lack of passion in her marriage, and Celeste (Fay Masterson, Eyes Wide Shut, Brightness) no longer feels any spark in her marriage to her rich, old husband. Neither of these two characters are very interesting, so it's fine they don't show up that much. Emily is an amateur fortuneteller, and every lady is hoping (some secretly) that the fortune will apply to them.

Venus and Mars is just not interesting. There is nothing necessarily bad about the film, just that it is a big stinking piece of blah. The characters aren't too interesting and the acting is adequate with nothing standing out. The story is what sinks the film, because it feels so cliched. The Fay and Lisa characters are traveling well-worn roads, and the entire film has more the feel of a television movie than a feature film. Harry Mastrogeorge directs like he's bored, kind of moving things along at an easy gait. And isn't it just great that in the heart of Germany, everybody, even the Germans, speak English with a sprinkling of German thrown in?

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated R for some sexuality and language.

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