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About the Movie
A conservative American businessman living in 1980s Barcelona is joined by his obnoxious cousin, a naval officer. As they compete for women, the two rivals find themselves each embroiled in a culture where anti-American violence is on the rise. An effective mix of romance, drama and dry humor, starring Academy Award and Golden Globe-winner and Emmy-nominee Mira Sorvino ("Gods and Generals," "Mighty Aphrodite"), Taylor Nichols (TV's "The Mind of the Married Man," "Jurassic Park III"), Christopher Eigeman (TV's "Malcolm in the Middle," TV's "It's Like, You Know…"), and Tushka Bergen ("Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," "Swing Kids"). Directed by Academy Award-nominee Whit Stillman (TV's "Homicide: Life on the Street," "Metropolitan").
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 33
- Fresh: 27
- Rotten: 6
- Average Rating: 6.6/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: A remarkable find: The film doesn't stop at getting your attention, it rewards it.
Fresh: An exquisitely composed yet fiercely combative satire (set in the eighties) of European mores as seen through the eyes of two young exemplars of the American establishment.
Rotten: Ted and Fred may finally leave you not caring about Stillman's protagonists -- not so much ugly Americans as mildly unpleasant Americans.
Fresh: Stillman pulls confident, polished performances from all his actors.
Incisive, insightful, complex and fun
I lived in Barcelona, and can say this film does a good job representing a specific kind of culture clash that happens in the realm of thirty-something pretensions to grandeur. There is a tension in the air that gives life to the city, and this film somehow captures that, though it explores a unique, and awkward perspective. The foreigner's view is important, because Barcelona is both an intensely locally focused city with its own regional culture and also a cosmopolitan patchwork full of creative and hardworking immigrants who do a great deal to make the city what it is. The humor is dark at times, or wry, or just oddball, and you may need to see it more than once to realize how good it is.
A Real “Killer” B Movie (one of 237!)
This review is an excerpt from my book “Killer B’s: The 237 Best Movies On Video You’ve (Probably) Never Seen,” which is available as an ebook on iBooks. If you enjoy this review, there are 236 more like it in the book (plus a whole lot more). Check it out!
BARCELONA: Call it “Annie Hall Abroad”; it’s a relationship comedy about a pair of uptight, conservative American yuppies thrown into a hip, sexually liberated environment. And it’s a buddy flick, as the cousins bicker continually, as they’ve done since they were kids. It’s a cross-cultural comedy as well, as the boys find themselves entirely out of their league debating politics with anti-American Europeans who discuss politics as facilely as Americans discuss celebrities. It’s a fish-out-of-water flick: the American boys, for instance, attempt to be “retro” among the ultrahip Eurotrash who, ironically, haven’t caught on yet that retro is more cutting edge than they are.
Simultaneously, it’s a sweet, off-kilter, coming-of-age comedy bursting with hilarious insights into cultural differences and confusions. (The Barcelonans constantly accuse the U.S. of being a land of crime, consumerism, vulgarity and fascism, so Fred must explain to the freedom-seeking girls that Ted isn’t “a fascist of the marrying kind.” But when the girls are given a chance to live here, well...)
The dialog is smart, sharp and witty; comically arch, exaggeratedly overintellectual, and delivered with a deadpan sincerity that only enhances its laugh-out-loud content. It’s an insightful satire with a good heart, gently poking fun at the troubles between genders no matter what their cultural background.
A beloved and quirky film
Funny. Chatty. Will make you want to travel, and to find your mate in a foreign land.
And you'll learn what Maneuver X is and how to apply it in your own life.
- Genre: Comedy
- Released: 1994
- © 1994 Copyright Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.