Just a Kiss (2002) Poster

(2002)

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5/10
Stylish, but average film
noizyme16 November 2004
This movie was a moviestar-filled indie film about relationships and what might have happened had they chosen to take things differently with the people nearest to them. This plot is very overused so naturally to change the movie and make it unique, they add digital effects over the video to make it more artsy.

I liked the effects and the different characters were always getting themselves into crazy situations involving neverending change, but the way this was directed was so unbelievable and chaotic that the audience, in my opinion, doesn't have time to understand how to react to the changes that are made. This movie is more depressing than happy or even "real."

This obviously is supposed to be a black comedy based around the emotion of love and its many forms and prices of being in love. I gave it a 5/10 stars because although it had nice stylistic touches to keep you watching, there was very little payoff to watching through to the credits.
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6/10
Internet generation "consequences" flick
siderite30 October 2005
I took this movie because my wife wanted a romantic comedy. It is slightly comedy as well as romantic, but IT IS NOT a romantic comedy. What it is is one of those situational movies which exploit the butterfly effect in relationships and in the end everybody ends up knowing everybody and having a connection to them and facing consequences for the things they did in the first start of the movie.

The graphical effects are nice sometimes, but completely unnecessary. After I watched about 80% of the film I have already decided that it is better than a romantic comedy, as I wasn't bored out of my socks, but worse than any other type of movie. I've already labeled it average and I was waiting for the end. The end, though, transformed into a short "what if" mini-movie that canceled all the bad effects of the first part of the film. I didn't like that, really.

So, in conclusion, while it was a rather original take on an old story, it failed to deliver entertainment or at least the discovery of one's true hidden feelings as some of these romantic experiments end up doing. You just watch the movie, completely disconnected and vaguely aware of the emotions of the characters, then it ends.
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8/10
When Harry Met Sally it ain't!
lduperval9 June 2003
Great movie! It starts out with two people about to kiss in a hotel room, with both of them admitting that this is going to be a big mistake. Buit they go ahead and do it anyway. After that, the rest of the movie deals with the implications of that kiss. But the way it is all presented is quite fun. There are the somewhat annoying uses of cartooning effects over the real actors. But the most enjoyable part was the way they played with the timeline. At any given time, you aren't really sure if you're in the present or the past. The first few times take you by surprise.

Not your typical love story, for sure. I thought the actors were fine, everyone lies, noone is perfect, which is the way life is. Just more so. As Sid Ceasar said, "Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end." And that's what they did with this movie.

A good 7.5 (8 on IMDB).
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5/10
Novelty For Novelty's Sake
B2420 July 2004
There are in fact some good takes in this film. Each is like an episode that relates forward or back to another, with uneven balance. The clever rotomation is probably unnecessary, but you never know because the central theme of infidelity masquerading as comedy never gets off the ground.

It could be just that I don't appreciate gimmicks or television-inspired quick jumps from one aspect or view of an object to another. Or that I see Generation X or Millennium Generation attitudes as disjointed and lacking any sense of classic value. Anyone who might be strongly centered on the idea of "character" (in the old sense of that word) should probably avoid this film as a waste of time. Go and rent a computer game or watch Reality TV instead.
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8/10
Way way above average
name99-92-54538923 December 2014
Look, let's be honest here: this is a film that most people are going to hate. But if you're in the small group that like it, you're going to love it. It is NOT, contrary to what some reviewers are saying, a, "meh, average" film.

This is emphatically not a genre film --- you don't know what to expect, and you can't judge it by genre conventions. In particular, give it about 20 minutes to set the mood and see if you like that.

To the extent that it is any genre, it's dark/absurdist comedy. Some funny things happen, some completely unexpected and ridiculous things happen. But it's the comedy of ridiculousness, not on-going laugh-out-loud comedy.

It's also not IMHO, pace some other commenters, meant to be a deep meditation on the fragility of life, how one small thing can change lives; it's not Sliding Doors or Run Lola Run. It uses elements of that sort of setup, but for absurdist effect, not to ruminate on life.

Having said all that, I Ioved it. We have, in Rebecca the most desirable Manic Pixy Dreamgirl I've yet seen on screen. (Yes, yes, I know it's not PC to lust after MPGs, but, damn, done right they are so appealing; and boy was Rebecca done right.) We also have Marisa Tomei looking more lovely than in any other movie she's ever done. We have a constant stream of bizarre asides that do nothing to forward the plot but somehow just fit the movie (starting with the interaction with the taxi driver that opens the movie). What's not to love? Personally I wish more movies like this were made...
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A little infidelity goes a long way
mgressma25 September 2002
It doesn't take much to set the dominoes of human relationships to tumbling. Sometimes all it takes is a kiss. In "Just a Kiss", one man, Dag, has a one-nighter with his best friends girl. This sets in motion a series of encounters that ultimately cause much pain and suffering and death. At least that's what we're led to believe. But the film uses gimmicks and "cleverness" to twist things around enough to provide a pat Hollywood ending. While watching the movie, I wasn't liking it much, but afterwards I came to like it a bit. I'm still not a fan of roto-scope, or roto-animation, or whatever it's called, ("Waking Life" may have put me off it forever), and even though it was used sparingly in this movie, I found it to be annoying. In the end, I'll probably recommend this movie to some people, but definitely not others
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9/10
Worth seeing for Tomei and Eldard and humor
beware_of_seller3 April 2003
Don't be so hard on this film, all of you who are putting it down. It's not going to win an oscar for any reason, but it's different and it's not stupid. It's definitely worth a rental fee. The film dabbles in black humor and Tomei is sexy as always. There are some silly moments which make it worth seeing, for instance a certain commercial actor. The soundtrack is inspiring, as it is trippy groove music, and the animation parts make it different. The acting is fine on all levels. Definitely worth seeing if you like the actors in the film. 7.5/10
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2/10
Been There, Done That
user-3810 March 2004
I can't help wondering if some of the positive comments here were written by people involved in making this film, not only because it's a movie only its mother could love (though it is), but because they seem to reflect what the filmmakers intended, not what the audience sees. It's screamingly obvious that this was intended to be an 'original' film, the interspersing of cartoony footage, the 'alternate reality' stuff, but all in all this is just a rehash of 100 film school indies you've seen before, urban hipsters having sex, having relationships, engaging in the forced clever banter that passes for wit in such flicks. The characters are intended to be unique and interesting, but instead of personalities, they just have quirks. It's not unbearable, there's just not enough here to make it worth the time it takes to watch.
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An experimental play. An experimental movie. Hey, let's face it... they don't always pan out.
abyoussef9 February 2004
JUST A KISS

"Rocky" and "Good Will Hunting" are the best of examples of what happens when out-of-work actors write.

In these situations, they can write themselves work. And with some talent, some and a little luck, these unemployable actors are never unemployed again.

Nervous nebbish actor Patrick Breen wrote this experimental Off-Off broadway play "Just A Kiss" about how one single event can completely can change not just the lives of the kissers and their significant others, but people outside their little circles.

A whole chain reaction. One kiss. Between two people who shouldn't be kissing. And then hell breaks loose. Not just the kissers and their significant others. But people outside the circle as well.

A promising idea even though we have seen it before. One person and one desicion. That's all it takes.

Oddball character actor Fisher Stevens is a friend and collaborator of Breen's and makes his directorial debut with this experimental film and the often-dubbed "character actor" does some experimental character direction here with this one.

Perhaps the film is trying to be too many things at once.

Maybe the real problem with "Just A Kiss" is it takes too many targets. Social commentary on love, life and relationships (especially in NYC). A black comedy. An experiment. A drama. A dramedy, perhaps? And if that's not enough, the movie tries too hard to be "hip" and "stylish" and "ground-breaking" with it's technique.

"JAK," which could probably be best described as an "Anti-romantic comedy." What bothers me the most is that it's not a succesful one. But boy, it sure could have been.

Dag (named after a former U.N. secreatry, who's a real dog) is a commercial director who's dating Halley (a woman who saved his life) and living with her.

He's unfaithful quite frequently and seems to be prone to having flings with some of Manhattan's more mentally ill chicks. It's a shame Dag can't be faithful to Halley because she's the sanest woman he can come across.

Maybe it could have had it been... less ambitious? That's not the right attitude. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Should we HATE everybody for trying?

His friend Peter, a commercial actor (who also wrote this film) is having relationship trouble with his mentally unbalanced ballerina girlfriend who has a steady habit of cheating on him with everybody, she also has a married man named Andre (Taye Diggs) who comes over to sleep with her regularly and HE winds up having sex with Halley and bcomes her boyfriend. Peter has a quick one with Colleen, Andre's wife.

And... people start dropping and dying pretty quickly. Couples couple up with other people and the body count rises as people kill themselves or each other.

But now the problems with the movie: A lot has been made about the film's use of rotoscoping. An animation technique that was a favorite (and perhaps partially invented) of X-rated adult animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi. His "adult" cartoons often blended animation with live-action. This movie does the same.

Except with a live-action cast who only "occassionally" animate and do things that are glossed with cartoon frosting.

Why does this movie employ rotomation? Perhaps because the characters are cartoon characters themselves. They're so overplayed in a big, broad slapstick sort of way. Imagine Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny sitting around doing Neil LaBute or Todd Solondz material. It can be cute. For a few seconds. Maybe it's a metephor. Maybe it's supposed to mean this movie is more of a metephor than commentary. Or maybe it's just supposed to be stylish and hip.

But it just doesn't work here, pure and simple.

That is not to say ALL the rotoscoping in the movie is a bad idea. The intro in the title sequence is pretty great. But it just makes the rest of the badness so much more clear.

We hear Dag telling a story where he and Peter are in the back of a cab and speeding through NYC. We see rotomation at work outside illuminating the already-lit Manhattan after-hours club scene. Inside, everything is hopping... and litterally glowing. So are a lot of the people. A woman with a slavic accent screams at a man in a Porsche and makes death threats.

Dag moves towards her as the Porsche drives away. Onlookers think it's a bad idea. Who cares? She's vunerable.

They have passionante animal sex (complete with rotomation highlighting visuals). The morning after they wake up. She turns out to not have an accent. She's American. She sobs, I'm engaged! Dag just decides they should just forget last night, get her things and show her out the door.

Oh, she's crazy. Right before she takes that step out, she smiles and says (in a NEW accent), "She does this kind of s*** all the time." And we see her eye turn a frightening color. She's got multiple-crazy. This is a nice touch. Good little montage there, Steve.

But unfortunatly, this isn't a movie where they're satisfied with the little touches.

I love how diabolical the soundtrack is. This music is truly inspired. And kind of fitting for this movie, I guess. The thing how the movie is that it's so promising, it plays out like a notebook of theories and ideas by a first-year philsophy major.

The cast is great and than more able to play these characters. But the movie is directed like it's farce and slapstick when it's supposed to be serious. It moves at the pace and is styled like an MTV music video--which is all wrong for this material.

One bright spark is Marisa Tomei. Ever since "My Cousin Vinny," she's been typecast into playing that one role. The sexy, sassy and quick-tempered girlfriend who's kind of the whole point-of-sanity for her hair-trigger, on-the-edge boyfriend.

She got the Oscar for the role. Ever since, she has never been allowed to play another role. But in this movie, she has been granted the opportunity.

She plays a mentally unstable and potentially homicidal waitress. She makes small talk with Dag, plays his confidant. She reads fortunes in rings left by cold beer bottles. She reads his. He needs a one-night stand to help him to forget. She throws herself at him. "Leave your number." He does. This only makes things worse in a way I can't quite reveal here.

There's one potentially funny "Seinfeld-ian" moment as Peter makes a cellular call on a plane right before landing. The radio transmission interfears with the control tower. The plane breaks in half and passengers die. Now that really made me laugh.

The tourist class (business and coach) all die horribly whereas the first class skitter across the runway and land safely close to the gates. No here is an inspired bit. With a director able to juggle multiple tones a little better, this could've been a success.

But the actual final product plays out like an exercise or a list or experimentation of different cinematic styles. Which, actually, I guess, it is. Steven has always been a character actor, and now he's a character director. Let's hop his next character is at least somewhat better.

Lets also hope their next collaboration is better. Hell, it'll be easy to top this one. "Just A Kiss"... just doesn't work.

Better luck next time, guys.
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10/10
Hilarious, Quirky Film
scott-30527 May 2003
A great movie for folks tired of hum-drum, run-of-the-mill romantic comedies drenched with sap. If you like wacky humor with a dark edge, check it out.

Despite its off-beat humor, this film manages some serious undertones without taking itself too seriously, and its proof that silliness needn't always stupid. Well worth the time!
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1/10
Did The Actors Read the Script First?
Mitiori28 January 2004
Given the quality of the actors on this project, I thought this might be one of those overlooked movies that turn out to be a missed treasure. I discovered that it was overlooked for a really good reason. It is a really bad movie.

I don't know what is worse - the script, some of the acting, the direction, the editing or those stupid illustrations effect they use at the opening of the movie (which was a warning sign) and throughout the rest of the movie in weird places. Maybe the director was trying to be "arty" and "different" like a lot of young artists try to do without having a keen understanding of why things are "traditional" as a guide to what is groundbreaking versus what is plain stupid.

And what was with that freaky guy dressed in the eagle costume?

The timeline was also annoying. It went from past to present, but since there is not a firm ground on who the characters are in the first place or why they are together, the flashbacks are indistinguishable and/or just annoying.

This movie doesn't even have a good soundtrack to make up for the pain.

Don't even ask about character development, consistency or believability. It doesn't exist in this film. Save yourself. Don't bother.
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8/10
A surprisingly pleasant drug trip of a movie.
bohemian-in-a-tutu22 June 2006
My friend and I found a DVD of this movie in the rental area in a hotel we were staying in, and, not seeing much else other than the fact that Taye Diggs was in it, proceeded to rent it.

The whole way through we were making comments along the lines of "Whoa, this is really trippy..." But, as we realized after we finished the movie, that's okay. Sometimes a cinematic drug trip is exactly what you're looking for.

Idina Menzel's cameo performance was freaking brilliant, as always. And the rest of the cast, esp. Taye, Marley Shelton and Marisa Tomei, carried this slightly whacked out movie well. Overall it was insane but enjoyable, although definitely not for everyone.
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5/10
Just sucks.
=G=12 July 2003
"Just a Kiss" sucks like a Hoover. I only made it about halfway before ejecting. I showed the DVD cover to my SO and she just stuck up her nose at it. Even my cat tried to cover it up. The film has a good cast (why I rented it) but no story, goes no place, and really needs to get over itself. It's salted with cute little effects...not cute cute, just dumb cute. One star from Ebert and 86% rotten according to RottenTomatoes.com, I shoulda known better. (C-)
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10/10
An Original--and There Ain't That Many of Those
talltale-111 January 2004
JUST A KISS is so original (I can't compare it closely to ANYthing else I've seen), so laugh-out-loud funny, so well acted, written and directed, that to pass it up would be a sin and a loss for any real movie-lover. It's a kind of filmed comic essay on fidelity in an age of infidelity--what you gain and what you lose. But if that sounds preachy, the movie is anything but. Yes, it uses some kind of morphing into an animated look periodically, which is evidently distracting to some, but I felt it just added to the many pleasures of the film. My theory is that these moments are the heightened--read sexual, violent, transitional times--that need to be singled out in some way, but maybe that isn't what the talented director Fisher Stevens had in mind. The cast--a wonderful mix of first-rate performers, all of whom are seen to good advantage--is exemplary. And the writing is, too. This is such a special movie: thank god for the Sundance Channel or we might never have discovered it. Bravo to everyone concerned!
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1/10
Tied with Men in Black II as worst movie of the year to date
Janazz20 October 2002
My only positive thoughts were that someone is going to make brilliant use of this type of animation in a film someday (but this isn't it) and Marissa Tomei needs to get more roles. Truly don't know where to start with such a mess of a movie. Could see that it was trying to be a black hip comedy about how one decision changes everything, but the characters had no connections to human beings and it wasn't funny in the least. Twas more superficial than TV commercials.
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4/10
no love
SnoopyStyle17 June 2018
Commercial director Dag (Ron Eldard) is a former womanizer. He's dating Halley (Kyra Sedgwick) and their best friend is Peter (Patrick Breen). Peter is dating flighty lead dancing Rebecca (Marley Shelton) who lives under her domineering director mother. One day, Rebecca reveals that she and Dag had a fling while she was touring in Europe. Dag, Halley, and Peter all break up as they find other relationships. Dag flirts with unstable waitress Paula (Marisa Tomei) who is in love Peter's commercial as a peanut butter mascot eagle. Halley has a fling with Andre (Taye Diggs) while staying at Rebecca's apartment. Peter meets Colleen (Sarita Choudhury) and then their plane crashes.

It's always fascinating to see these established actors in their earlier less-known work. Suddenly, Peter Dinklage shows up in a weird one-off role. Tomei is playing a psycho. There is a lot of wackiness but it doesn't strike my fancy. It's harder to laugh when the lead annoys me and Dag annoys me. I'm not a fan Eldard although he's usually pretty good as the annoying sidekick or the pathetic villain. It's not good when he's the lead. I also find the animated flashes really bad and unnecessary. I'm only interested in Halley and Peter but even there, the interest fades rather quickly. Peter pulling down his pants is a great move but his character turns bland. I love Sedgwick but when she lets in Andre, I just don't think that any New Yorker would do that without at least calling Rebecca. In the end, none of these characters intrigue me and other than the pants drop, none of it struck me as being funny.
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6/10
It could have been called...
es_sen24 February 2014
Just A Kiss? It could have been called 'Surrealistic Fruitcake'.

Certainly a strange flick. Lots of big stars doing weird work in Manhattan, but certainly not up to normal standards. I can just see Woody Allen doing a face palm. Not a high point for director Fisher Stevens.

Not sure if it was about schizophrenia, or just a case of writers' discarded notes being made into a movie. Visually, a strange intermix of normal filming and painted-over frames, to look something like comic books.

Mildly entertaining, for all that.

Shows Tomei and Sedgwick in different kind of roles than their usuals.

Could have been a breakout role for Taye Diggs and sexy Marley Shelton, had the movie not totally bombed.

Worth a look if you like the offbeat.
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10/10
Worth Seeing just to see Marisa Tomei as a.....
dfcurran20 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Okay so this evaluation is a spoiler in itself, but the movie which loops over and changes itself is weirdly interesting. But to see Marisa Tomei as a crazed killer is worth it. Tomei a bowling alley waitress first falls for the peanut butter chicken but then likes Dag who she eventually kills. Kyra Sedgwick is not all that likable in my book. The character I really liked was Marley Shelton's Rebecca. As a crazy but beautiful dancer I wished the movie was more about her and her view of the world. But Tomei, closing in on 50 now (48 at this writing) is stunningly beautiful in this movie. And she plays the dangerous woman very believably. This is a must for Tomei fans.
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9/10
Can a kiss change your life?
cpilchergfi9 April 2003
Great images and a twist and turning plot line will keep you glued to your seat from the get go. A must see.. no plot summary here. You have to see it to mention anything will ruin this work of art. You are sure to want to see it again and again. So much is going on you have to see how it ends. Don't blink you will miss something.
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10/10
rewarding dark comedy....A must see!!!!!!!!!
ilovepix26 September 2002
Fisher Stevens directs a brilliant cast in a quirky dark comedy about the attraction and ultimately the pitfalls of infidelity. The clever use of animation along with the live action enhances the appeal of the film which a variation on the theme of the french movie "La Ronde" and the American take off of that picture "Moulin Rouge." Ron Eldard and Kryra Sedgwick are excellent as the protaganists in the movie but Marisa Tomei as the "Force of Darkness" is brilliant in every scene she's in. A must see!!!!!!!
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2/10
People with no morals nor integrity make boring subject matter.
Tomsriv-113 April 2003
I rented this movie for my girlfriend because I don't mind a chick flick if it has a good story. However, this movie is predictable and boring. None of the characters have redeeming qualities. Its like Seinfeld without the comedy. All they care about is themselves so it is pretty easy to figure out the choices they will make. Why can't we have movies where people have more depth of character? This movie was vulgar, tragic, and lacked romance. The cover shows two people about to kiss, yet all the love in this movie is tragic. Don't expect to be in the mood for romance after this movie. Its like an American version of a bad French movie.

If you want a Romantic Comedy that will make you laugh and set the mood get Amelie, its the best of its type.
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9/10
A kiss is not just a kiss in this wonderfully funny black comedy.
asdalin23 September 2002
I just had the pleasure of seeing Just a Kiss at my sneak preview symposium. It was the first film of the semester and it was a great start.

It's rare that I see a film that is so original and brilliant. The story is fresh, all the actors are perfectly cast, and it had my full attention from the very first scene. Patrick Breen has written a story about a group of people who's lives are interconnected and we see the stories unfold from 4 or 5 perspectives. Not an easy feat to accomplish, and it's done so well in this film. Patrick Breen is also one of the leads in this film. When he's on screen, it's great fun to see what his next move will be, how he'll move his eyebrow or cock his head -- his performance is right on target and totally charming. Marisa Tomei gives another unforgettable portrayal of a woman who isn't what she appears to be. She also looks as if she's having the time of her life as Paula, the waitress at the bowling alley.

The film also makes use of the rotoscope -- a way of animating a live performance, which was used in Waking Life. It's used to much more effectively in this film to highlight and focus in on certain elements, and even to soften certain harsh images. The movie would not have been as much fun without this element -- it would have been much flatter and I don't think the humor would shine the way it does. Without the vivid use of the rotoscope, the movie would have taken a darker tone.

Fisher Stevens directorial debut is an auspicious one and hopefully the start of an enduring new career. I have a feeling Just a Kiss may become a hit, just like Big Fat Greek Wedding. It had a small budget and was shot in 21 days, but comes across as polished as a big budget studio film, but with a much a much better storyline and final result. This movie proves that a having a big budget is not what makes a good film (which audiences already know, but the studios don't) -- it helps to have an intelligent screenplay, and characters we care about, and are interesting to follow from start to finish.

I hope Just a Kiss becomes a huge hit...so spread the word. You're friends will thank you.
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1/10
Horrible Attempt at Satire
kscarlett5535 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This film tries awfully hard to spook romance movies of every type. It wants to spoof the romantic comedy, the tragedy, HBO soft-core porn and in some ways a horror film of female obsession. However, it fails in every respect seeming to be more like a junior high imitation of that nascent writers believe adult relationships are like.

This movie might have been humorous, if the gags weren't taken to such obscene levels of mockery. While the cast seems absolutely oblivious to the huge mistake of a career move.

Worst of all, the ending tries to reveal something true to relationships: that sex is unforgivable whereas making out isn't all that bad when it comes to cheating. However, it is impossible to take anything in this movie seriously.
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6/10
One of the best ever
mr_filipe_lemos12 December 2006
It is one of the best movies I've ever seen. The first (and unfortunately the only) time I saw "Just a kiss" was at Troia Film Festival (Setúbal, Portugal) with the director in one of the first rows. I had no idea what I was going for, I was amazed with the witty sense of humor, different style of special effects (very unique animations) and a very thought out story. Just for the most curious: the film was originally a play (I think written and stared by Ron Eldard) and was shot in New York in about a week by a group of actor friends. Its a simply great movie for those who don't go to the movie for big explotions and empty plots.
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10/10
Great Film
tinkerbell1238 November 2002
I am a huge fan of Ron Eldard which is why I went and saw this movie. As usual, he was great! The whole movie was great. I recommend it to everybody. I only wish had a wider release....it was only playing in one theatre in this huge city. Such a great film. Did I mention how great Ron Eldard was?
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