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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly unrealistic sequel, but still full of character
I enjoyed the emotional chaos and the comedy of "Pot Luck" (or "Spanish Inn" if you prefer) so I went and checked out this sequel "Russian Dolls" as soon as possible. The truth is, it's not as good, and despite having the same writer, most of the same cast and the same apparent style, it still manages to be a very different film from the first.

While the first...
Published on 11 Oct. 2009 by Mr. Stuart Bruce

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3.0 out of 5 stars noy neraly as good as L'Auberge
Sadly, noy neraly as good as L'Auberge Espagnol
Published 2 months ago by frederik riphagen


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly unrealistic sequel, but still full of character, 11 Oct. 2009
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed the emotional chaos and the comedy of "Pot Luck" (or "Spanish Inn" if you prefer) so I went and checked out this sequel "Russian Dolls" as soon as possible. The truth is, it's not as good, and despite having the same writer, most of the same cast and the same apparent style, it still manages to be a very different film from the first.

While the first film was a believable memoir of a year living as an exchange student, this film seems more like writer-director Cédric Klapisch's personal fantasy.

The main character Xavier is now a writer, who travels between Paris, London and St Petersburg meeting a succession of beautiful women, managing to bed almost every single one of them and then agonising about which one to choose. He behaves quite immorally and doesn't illicit any sympathy at all, yet essentially he 'gets away with it'.

There's much less comedy here than in "Pot Luck". The awkward situations (for example when two of Xavier's out-of-his-league girlfriends accidentally meet) are just awkward, rather than being an amusing farce.

Romain Duris keeps everything subtle with his performance, and essentially just keeps a permanently puzzled expression on his face while he allows everybody else to act around him. The British contingent- Kelly Reilly and Kevin Bishop- get much more substantial and interesting roles here than they did in "Pot Luck", and they both steal the show whenever they're on.

Despite being disappointed by the film compared to "Pot Luck", I'm going to give it 4 stars mainly for the strong cast- as well as Reilly and Bishop, Cecile De France and Audrey Tautou put in great performances.

The main DVD extra is a 45-minute 'making of' which is mainly just handheld 'behind the scenes' camera footage of filming certain scenes, without any narrative and without telling you much of interest about the process. The extras are missable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Pot Luck", 5 years on...., 20 April 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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This bright and breezy relationship drama (not a comedy, as some seem to think it is) is about the young French Xavier (Romain Duris), a student in economics in Cedric Klapisch's previous 'Pot Luck', and now a writer.

Basically, we follow him as he travels around Europe and in and out of girl's beds and their lives. From the gorgeous Audrey Tatou's single mother's life in Paris (she was an ex, and for a short time, is no longer) and via some other lovely young ladies, gets to write a screenplay for the BBC, necessitating him to travel to London. Two of the most memorable characters in 'Pot Luck' were Wendy (Kelly Reilly) who had her obnoxious brother, William (Kevin Bishop) come stay at the apartment in Barcelona where they all stayed as young students.

Well, Wendy, he meets up with again, who is having severe boyfriend trouble and he helps her rid of him. Is this now a relationship? Then, brother William, who has miraculously netted himself a Russian ballet dancer, goes off to Moscow to meet her parents and maybe, arrange their wedding. Xavier goes too, with Wendy.

As always with Xavier, distractions somehow, gently, always fall at his feet and as he's always looking for that perfect mate, he's often looking elsewhere - as if there's always something - and someone - better, to fall in love with. If I make this sound as if Xavier is some kind of sex maniac, who is always breaking girl's hearts, no. He is gentle, considerate but also cool and savvy, without being a jerk.

This is quite a long film and quite a lot happens and we meet a lot of people. It's easy to forget some of them by the end, but that's life. Kaplisch is always painting a rich kaleidoscope of life and its antics, sexual and emotional. This is not heavy drama and whilst not a comedy, it often has lighter edges. There's always the nice scenery of several capital cities (Paris, London and Moscow) to enjoy, too.

The bustle of human bonding is better explored in 'Pot Luck' and that is marginally a better film, but I give four stars to each, anyhow. If you enjoy 'Russian Dolls', I'd urge you explore its sister film as this one is a kind of an extension of the first one, but stand alone enough for it not to matter, narratively if you don't.

I watched both films on the excellent French cinema satellite channel 'Cinemoi', which really does show some gems, some known, like these and others, not. I see here on Amazon that both these titles are available as a two disc set and I'd strongly suggest that being a better option to those interested.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What becomes of Xavier & Co. 5 years after Barcelona, 24 Jun. 2014
By 
Paul Allaer (Cincinnati) - See all my reviews
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In anticipation of seeing the latest installment in this franchise, 2013's "Chinese Puzzle", I decided to re-watch the first two movies, the 2002 "L'auberge espagnol" and this one. I hadn't seen either of them since they first came out, and was curious to see how well they'd stand up after all these years.

"Russian Dolls" (2005 release from France; 120 min.; original title "Les poupées russes") takes place 5 years after the first movie. Our main man, Xavier, is now approaching 30, and his life is as unsettled as ever. As the movie opens, we see the entire gang of Barcelona getting together for a wedding in St. Petersburg, Russia (we don't know whose wedding), and then in a flashback, Xavier recounts the story of how it all came to this. Given that this is a plot-heavy movie, to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll really want to see for yourself how it all unfolds.

Couple of comments: the first movie was an unexpected box office bonanza in Europe (and did quite well also in the US at the art-house theater circuit), so it's not a surprise that writer-director Cédric Klapisch came up with the idea for a sequel. Xavier, played by the charming Romain Duris carries this movie on his back, and very well so. The great thing is that Klapisch has matured the Xavier character and exposes us to him as a real person, with real flaws. It would've been so much easier to avoid those complications, as Xavier, warts and all, is a very likeable character, but it adds to the depth (and the enjoyment) of the movie. Unlike the first movie, when Wendy (played by British actress Kelly Reilly) was barely on the radar screen, she gets a huge, and frankly pivotal, role in the movie. Also interesting is that her brother William (played by Kevin Bishop), who was such an unlikeable character in the first movie, gets an almost complete transformation in this. The movie takes places in Paris, London, and St. Petersburg, and as such it becomes a very enjoyable travelogue for those cities, and make you want to visit these places.

Bottom line: I really enjoyed seeing "Russian Dolls" again after all these years, although I still feel that it doesn't quite capture the magic that was the first movie. If, on the other hand, you haven't seen this, by all means, check it out, I think you will enjoy it quite a bit (but make sure you see "L'auberge espagnol" first).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable ...for the oddest reasons.., 18 Mar. 2011
Having waved goodbye to Xavier at the end of Pot Luck I had absolutely no desire to see him again. An experience familiar to anyone who has suffered the ordeal of an exchange visit. However for some odd reason we have another installment of the adventures of this frankly repellant fanny rat. Five years has passed since his time in Barcelona, and Xavier is a struggling writer working on various projects in different countries. Xavier has not got any nicer in the intervening years. He is not in the least bit sympathetic as he travels across Europe upsetting and abusing a string of beautiful women, and the sudden horrific outbursts of misogynistic abuse he hurls at women add to this sense of dislike. The audience are supposed to follow him on his quest to find true love, and empathise with him over his inability to choose. Instead I wished he would just jump in the Seine. I couldn't work out if these character traits were deliberate or just a mis-calculation by the writers.

Despite this weakness Russian Dolls is a pretty enjoyable if slightly overlong film. Xavier is like a black hole around which more luminous bodies revolve. The most luminous of all being Wendy, an old friend from England, who is drafted in to help Xavier finish his scripts. The main story is the development of their on-off relationship. The pair eventually travel to St Petersburg to attend the wedding of her brother William.

It is the presence of these supporting characters that supply the humanity lacking in the central character. The performances are great. Especially Wendy (played by Kelly Reilly) who is simply gorgeous and resonates sexual allure in bucketloads, her only apparent defect being her love for the obnoxious Xavier. Each character has an interesting story which allows the camera to travel between London, Paris and St Petersburg and the beauty of these cities has a significant part to play in the film's appeal. The story of William's infatuation with a Russian ballet dancer, though in truth far-fetched, is handled in a believable and touching manner, and is aided by a charming performance from Kevin Bishop.

I do think there are one or two bits that would have better left on the cutting room floor. For example, there is a gratuitous nude scene (which is most distasteful) where a naked girl flees Xavier's apartment through the streets of Paris, and which rather than being amusing seems more like the terrifying aftermath of a rape.

Ultimately the film works because it does acknowledge the cruelties as well as the joys of day to day life, and expresses them without recourse to melodrama or sentiment. Xavier is an unpleasant character, but let's face it, there's no shortage of them out there.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars superb storyline, 7 Feb. 2007
By 
Ms. R. Hunter "rosie" (UK) - See all my reviews
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I went to see this film at a film society. I was pleasantly surprised to find it a very good film indeed. The story is about a Parisian writer, who goes between jobs and can't seem to settle down with a girl. His old grandfather keeps asking to meet his fiancee (who does not exist)

The idea of the story is he wonders if this next girl will be "the" girl (comparing it to Russian Dolls, is there another one inside?!) very cleverly done.

The plot is quite fast going and doesn't drag as I had expected it too. We see his life unravel and with flashbacks we see how he has got to where he is now.

I do recommend this film to anyone who likes a bit of a love story with humour. Its the type of film I wouldnt venture out to see diliberately but is well worth it if you come across it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 23 Nov. 2012
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F. Smith (East Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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You guys are crazy, I loved this film! Highly recommended! Well worth watching. Good cast and although Romain Duris plays a love-rat, he's so charming he got me on his side; he's great in this film, as well, I thought, as in the first one (The Spanish Apartment/Pot Luck) and almost every other film he's in.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great film!, 26 Aug. 2011
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The only gripe I have about this product is that it only has English subtitles, and not French subtitles...but the film is great and the delivery was prompt :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars OK but as with so many sequels it's not as good as the original, 27 Aug. 2013
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This is quite an entertaining film but I'd say it definitely doesn't live up to the original l'auberge espagnole still quite fun and worth a watch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 Feb. 2015
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Better than The Spanish Appartment with more humour & a better story.
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3.0 out of 5 stars noy neraly as good as L'Auberge, 28 Feb. 2015
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Sadly, noy neraly as good as L'Auberge Espagnol
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Les Poupées russes [FRENCH]
Les Poupées russes [FRENCH] by Cédric Klapisch (DVD)
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