There’s a common argument that men don’t like “chick flicks” because these films tend to be about relationships. I tend to counter that I don’t like movies that earn the tag “chick flick” because they’re usually full of fluff and hackneyed clichés of both women and men.
Broken English (2007) makes an effort to be a film about relationships without being fluffy or clichéd. It also stars Parker Posey whom I’ve had a celebrity crush on since Party Girl so I’m unable to be an impartial viewer.
The plot is familiar. A smart, successful, and attractive New York woman named Nora (Posey) goes through a series of dates with unsuitable men and begins to feel she will never find happiness in a relationship. Then she meets and falls in love with a very direct French man (Melvil Poupad) and decides to go to Paris to pursue him. You may be thinking you’ve already seen this one with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline.
Despite the recycled plot, Broken English is good enough to keep us on our toes and provide some realistic behavior from our characters. I particularly like that Nora struggles with shyness and anxiety and that it’s portrayed in a sensitive but not sensationalist manner. Like my favorite romantic comedy of all time Next Stop, Wonderland, the ending is ambiguous. Nora and Julien meet in Paris and they may fall in love, they may remain in close contact, or they may never see each other again. You can pretend that live happily ever after if you prefer, but the filmmaker doesn’t feel the need to spell it out to you.
So that’s Broken English, a movie that may not perfect the “chick flick” but at least give it the intelligence it deserves.