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Gorgeous Dutch youngster Max has two passions, acting and girls. The first becomes his brilliant career, which takes off so well he gets invited to a prestigious New York theatre course for a year. But since he met fickle bitch Phileine in an Utrecht park, his flirting life is cut short while she cruelly plays with his feelings rather then his horny body. After refusing to follow him, she turns up uninvited later and still acts jealous and possessive. Grief follows for everyone, working up to a convoluted finale. Written by
Quick, witty, catchy but also unemotional and flat.
Sex sells. That is something Dutch author Ronald Giphart is very well aware of. This was evident in the first filmed novel by the author: 'Ik Ook Van Jou' but even more in 'Phileine Zegt Sorry' (Phileine Says Sorry).
The original novel is hilarious, quick, witty, from a female perspective, but written by a heterosexual male author. The novel is full of quick one-liners and so is this move ('I believe in sex at first sight' and 'We don't care you have a low self-esteem, just don't bother us with it').
The thing is a quite weak story as 'Phileine' demands a quick witty approach, which Robert-Jan Westdijk (the director) seems to be perfectly able at. He seems to have understood what the story is all about: Phileine, a super-bitch, follows her boyfriend Max to New York, where she finds out about the rather exclusive approach he's giving to Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'.
Although the movie is quick it has quite some flaws. Westdijk doesn't take enough time to finish off some crucial scenes. The final scene has been handled off quite fast and almost messy and the movie really lacks emotion at times. Westdijk doesn't seem to wanna fall in the pit called 'false sentiment' but in stead of carefully avoiding it he doesn't seem to use any of it in 'Phileine'. To be perfectly honest one wouldn't care less whether or not Phileine regains the love of Max or how she handles it. She's a bitch, so she'll survive and go on with her live.
Kim van Kooten however is perfectly cast and throws in the one-liners one at a time from scratch. Michiel Huisman may be nice to look at (all pumped up) but is rather disappointing as the flat character of Max. This is also due to his rather poor acting qualities. Roeland Fernhout's part as the androgynous Jules is unforgettable and could have used deserved more screen time.
The novel already makes use of too many character with their individual story-lines that push away the main story-line: the one between Phileine and Max, but in the movie this gets annoying at points.
Fortunately Westdijk's quick approach makes up for a lot but not for everything. 'Sometimes the movie is just better than the movie', says author Giphart in a cameo (please no more cameos in any of his movies!). I am afraid I have to disagree with him. But then again: is the movie ever better than the novel?
Still 'Phileine Zegt Sorry' speeds up hope for the Dutch movie industry (especially now that governmental finance has been abolished) and especially for Dutch rom-coms.
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