Romance and Cigarettes

Year: 2005
Studio: GreeneStreet Films
Director: John Turturro
Producer: John Turturro
Writer: John Turturro
Cast: James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Christopher Walken, Eddie Izzard
This film sat finished on studio shelves for a couple of years after the US and UK releases while somebody worked out what the hell to do with it. After watching it, you'll wonder what the hell to do with it as well.

It's not the first time two completely disparate genres have been mixed together to broadside your expectations – just look at Brokeback Mountain. But it's a tricky device to get right, and even if you believe writer/director John Turturro gets it right, the idea of an angsty suburban infidelity tale melded with a musical is just too bizarre to do anything but jar.

James Gandolfini is an everyday schmoe in New York who has to choose between his profane and hypersexed but cute mistress Kate Winslet and his long suffering wife Susan Sarandon.

With a doltish co-worker (Steve Buscemi) and a troupe of precocious daughters making life harder than ever, the hero goes on a journey of the heart, trying to redeem himself and occasionally breaking out into song along the way.

If you believe a hot firecracker like Kate Winslet (sample dialogue delivered in her cockney lilt; 'I want your finger up my arsehole right now') can be sexually attracted to a balding, heavyset fifty-something like Tony Soprano, maybe you'll get something out of this film. But it throws a huge assortment of weird characters, situations and ideas into the blender and the gloop that pours out is the movie.

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