Note: This film can't be reviewed without spoilers right from the get-go, so fair warning.
There are about a billion movies released each year, and even someone like myself, whose business is movies, can't see them all. Some of this year's biggest blockbusters and most talked-about art house films will undoubtedly slip by me. So it's certainly possible that director Zoe Cassavetes hasn't seen the film Before Sunset*, which came out three years ago. What's harder to believe is that none of the actors, crew members, or studio people involved with Broken English saw it either. If they had, surely they would have pulled her aside at some point and whispered in her ear that the ending of her film is, while not an actionable rip-off of Sunset's ending, close enough to make any audience member who has seen both films do a double-take. Let's put it this way -- a friend of mine who saw Broken English with me, and is only a casual movie watcher, actually perked up at the end and said 'Hey, isn't that what happened in that other Paris movie, with Ethan Hawke?" That's how similar the two are.
Putting that aside, the film is a passable -- sometimes more than passable -- romantic comedy about a Manhattanite named Nora, played by Parker Posey, whose fast-approaching collision with age 40 reminds her that she has very little in her life. Nora's job is something of a hospitality person at a fancy hotel -- early on we see her tending to whims of a flirty rock star played by Justin Theroux. Her dating life is a revolving door of disappointments and false starts with weirdos and barely-there guys who pay little attention to her, although on the plus side she does live in Manhattan so she at least gets taken to places like the Film Forum, which gets an extended cameo in the film.We actually get to see the theater's notoriously drink-holder-free armrests caught on film -- if only one of the characters had actually commented on it. And of course it goes without saying that there's a best-friend for Parker's character to lean on -- she's played by The Sopranos' Drea de Matteo, in a pretty straight-forward role.