Picks and Pans Review: Venice/venice

updated 11/30/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/30/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

Henry Jaglom, Nelly Alard, Melissa Leo

The Italian and California cities of the title both appear in this film, but the real locale is director Jaglom's deeply fissured, humorless psyche. Venice/Venice is about a small-potatoes American director who is at a film festival in Italy when a gorgeous young French journalist, Alard, throws herself at him and follows him back to California, where Jaglom is casting a movie about a director looking for someone to play his wife in a film.

Jaglom trashes a small battalion of women who are interviewed in pseudo-documentary footage. The women are given foolish lines that make them prattle about the contrast between movie romance and real life.

Despite all the blather about movie romance, there is no romantic payoff in this one. Nothing much happens, in fact, except for lots of ersatz philosophizing, with Jaglom musing about, among other things, the difference between "good narcissism" and "bad narcissism." (R)

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