(From left to right) Virginie Ledoyen, Emmanuel Mouret, and Frederique Bel star in Shall We Kiss.

(From left to right) Virginie Ledoyen, Emmanuel Mouret, and Frederique Bel star in Shall We Kiss.

Shall We Kiss

Virginie Ledoyen, Emmanuel Mouret, and Julie Gayet star in a film written and directed by Emmanuel Mouret.

A kiss is rarely just a kiss claims this somewhat interesting French fluff, a tale within a tale about two friends who find they cannot return to their mates after a session of supposedly harmless therapeutic lovemaking. The plot makes sense while watching it, but just see if you can explain it to a friend and still respect yourself the next morning. And even though the issue ultimately is sexual infidelity, our narrator Emilie (Julie Gayet) insists that it was actually the kiss that betrayed the two friends into betraying their mutual partners. Two-thirds through the film, which is shot with an inordinate attention to visual jokes and cultural winks, the coy, gallingly Gallic infidelities suddenly grind into a moral reckoning, and the film and the smooch suddenly do seem to matter. Sadly, however, this air kiss with seriousness soon evaporates, leaving us puzzled about everything.

But the largest obstacle to enjoying Emmanuel Mouret’s film - which will be a hit - is Mouret, who stars as one of the kiss-crossed lovers and whose entire acting bag of tricks seems to be shrugs. (He’s been called a cross between Woody Allen and Jean Pierre Leaud, which is much too kind.) This might have been a smart film, but it keeps reverting to sappy filmmaking whenever challenged by ideas. No doubt my colleagues would term this a “fizzy romp,” which isn’t the worst way to spend an evening, even if it does feel like Mouret just kissed himself off.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Volunteers in Policing Is Looking for 10 Good Men and Women

An eye-opening volunteer program at Santa Barbara Police Department.

Alvarado and Ford File for School Board

Mark M. Alvarado and Kate Ford registered to run for the Santa Barbara Unified school board.

Thousands Received DACA Relief After Lawsuits Filed

Renewal applications have totaled 117,446 since program suspension was overturned.

Bank Robbery Suspect Kills Self in Bathroom

[Update] The suspect in the Goleta Rabobank robbery has been identified as Keith David Goodwin, believed to ...

News-Press’ Found to Owe Union and Employees $2.2 Million

National Labor Relations Board puts money amount on employee losses since 2006.