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Romance & Cigarettes (2005)

 -  Comedy | Musical | Romance  -  2006 (Spain)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 8,895 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 67 user | 86 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

A down-and-dirty musical set in the world of working-class New York, tells a story of a husband's journey into infidelity and redemption when he must choose between his seductive mistress and his beleaguered wife.

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Storyline

Down-and-dirty musical love story set in the world of the working class. Nick is an ironworker who builds and repairs bridges. He's married to Kitty, a dressmaker, a strong and gentle woman with whom he has three daughters. He is carrying on a torrid affair with a redheaded woman named Tula. Nick is basically a good, hardworking man driven forward by will and blinded by his urges. Like Oedipus at Colonus, he is sent into exile and searches to find his way back through the damage he has done. Explores the cost and value of a relationship through life and death. When the characters can no longer express themselves with language, they break into song, lip-synching the tunes lodged in their subconscious. It is their way to escape the harsh reality of their world - to dream, to remember, and to connect to another human being. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Savage Musical


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content including some strong dialogue, and language | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

2006 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Apisties kai tsigara  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,630 (USA) (5 October 2007)

Gross:

$540,085 (USA) (11 January 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fryburg, the name of Bobby Cannavale's character, is also the name of a small, west Pennsylvania town. Fryburg, Pa. had a Catholic school named St. Michael's which was also the name of the Catholic school Bobby Cannavale attended. See more »

Goofs

When Roe and the Greek Man are walking past Bo and Kitty in the Diner, the sound of the Greek man smacking Roe's bottom is sharply heard, yet we can clearly see his hand on Roe's waist the entire time. See more »

Quotes

Baby: You're the best kisser in the whole wide world, Fryburg.
Fryburg: I'm gonna make out with your whole family, baby.
See more »

Connections

References The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now
Music by Joseph E. Howard and Harold Orlob
Lyrics by William M. Hough (as Will M. Hough) and Frank R. Adams
Performed by Aida Turturro
Arranged by Aida Turturro and Bill Maxwell
Produced by Bill Maxwell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tuturro Faces the Music
27 March 2006 | by (http://www.amateurscribe.webeden.co.uk) – See all my reviews

Direction duties on the latest Coen brothers release have been entrusted to an able lieutenant in John Tuturro – the scene-stealing actor from O Brother, Where Art Thou, Miller's Crossing and The Big Lebowski. In his hands, Romance and Cigarettes embraces all the staple Coen nuances but is unsettlingly gritty – less kitsch, more kitchen sink.

Predictably, the film is just a fraction beyond offbeat. For starters it is a musical – original songs and irreverent covers belch incongruously through the pithy dialogue – and, while appearing slightly amateurish at times, in the main it is shot with a grimy panache.

The anti-hero is Nick Murder (James Gandolfini) - an overweight, chain-smoking construction worker who is married to Kitty (Susan Sarandon), but having a torrid affair with ballsy English slapper Tula (Kate Winslet). Nick has a trio of daughters (Mandy Moore – precocious sex bomb, Mary Louise Parker – punk and Aida Tuturro – chubby mummy's girl) who pass the time knocking out grungey rock music in their back garden. Plot-wise, that's about your lot - superficially, the movie is about a family coping with adultery, but this is the Coen brothers, so there are always points of interest lurking in the mundane subject matter.

If you're going to have a stab at unconventional drama, it is best to arm yourself with some quality to beef up your oddballs. So Tuturro has called in favours from Steve Buscemi who raises more than a few chortles as Nick's philosophising co-worker, and an elaborately coiffed Christopher Walken who lends the fancy footwork he cultured on that Fatboy Slim video to some of the more surreal dance sequences. Weirder still is Eddie Izzard's new age church choir organist who distributes marital advice to Mrs. Murder in between belting out gospel hits.

A stellar cast then, and one cannot fault the promotional poster, which is so dominated by Winslet's mountainous, and, let's face it, almost certainly air-brushed breasts (no offence Kate) that it has been crudely censored on the London Underground.

The poster hints at Winslet being some sort of femme fatale, but she actually has few scenes to demonstrate anything other than jiggling, pouting and athletic sexual gymnastics. Much of her dialogue (delivered in an ambiguously mid-Pennines northern accent) is absolutely filthy dirty and is, if you close your eyes, uncomfortably evocative of Kathy Staff in Last of the Summer Wine. No wonder I had nightmares afterwards.

Winslet is following in the footsteps of Helena Bonham Carter, shrugging off the corset and the irritating "English rose" label by taking increasingly earthy roles. Serious, cerebral critics (their spectacles steaming up with every cleavage shot) will no doubt call this performance "brave", "challenging" or even "career defining". More realistically, she probably saw it as an ideal chance to prance around in hot pants and spout smut breathlessly into a telephone whilst trying desperately not to giggle. Either way, it's obviously some sort of trend among English actresses – watch out for Keira Knightley in the new remake of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

But beneath the silliness beats a mournful heart. The Coens' influence, though undeniably prominent, does not swamp Tuturro's serious side and the last third of the movie sees a significant mood change.

Buscemi, Walken and the quirky choreography take a back seat as Gandolfini and Sarandon muscle their way to the fore. It is an impressively gripping finale to a curiously disjointed film, and one which, on balance, just about tips it towards triumph rather than turkey.

The story is wafer thin and the musical set pieces veer dangerously between hit and miss. Frankly it's a bit of a shambles at times, but no less enjoyable for that.

7/10


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