Russian Dolls

Writer-director Cédric Klapisch revisits the pretty young things who summered together in Barcelona for his 2002 film L’Auberge Espagnole. Romain Duris returns as Xavier, now a 30-year-old freelance writer churning out TV schlock to get by (rather comfortably) and darting between Paris, London and St. Petersburg, where gorgeous women always seem to be waiting for him. Klapisch spins out well-observed stories within stories of romance and young-male dithering as Xavier seeks the love of his life, “the teeny-tiny one, hidden inside all the others. You can’t get to her right away. You have to follow the progression.” That includes entanglements with, among others, a collaborator (Kelly Reilly), a neurotic ex (Audrey Tautou) and the supermodel (Lucy Gordon) whose memoirs he’s ghostwriting. The trysts seem authentically awkward, messy, sexy and anti-climactic, and Klapisch keeps things breezy with flourishes of collage and other cinematic gimmicks, but the movie is too long, and it feels derivative even if you haven’t ever seen a Truffaut film.

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