THE PLOT THUS FAR
A 40-year-old father’s life is complicated when the mother of his two children moves to New York. Since he can’t bear them growing up far away from him, he decides to move there as well.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“Chinese Puzzle” is what happens when you try to place European sensibilities within a very American confine. I get the open relationship and the marriage dynamic for Europe, but it feels so foreign when brought to America. If anything, it makes the lead character feel like he’s living in a perpetual youth hostel while trying to see his kids. Imagine if Kramer vs. Kramer involved Dustin Hoffman living with a bunch of random weirdos while trying to take care of Justin Henry. It just wouldn’t make sense! In context, it reminds me of that old sketch from “The State” where they try to stage The Nutcracker in a way too small room.
This is what happens when the French start to ape Woody Allen. Allen exists in a world that is only constructed of New York Times crossword puzzles done in pen and the delusional fantasies of people that use the term Flyover Country. While you could praise the film for its inclusive diversity, the film has no direction when it comes to jumbling people together. If anything, it plays like Altman when he was at his experimental worst. “Chinese Puzzle” sports moments of great humor, but you’ll find yourself tripping over an insane cast of characters to find the jokes. Movies like this are why an editor’s work can never be undersold. Bloated and gross, this is interesting failure.
The Blu-Ray comes with interviews, featurette and a trailer as the special features. The A/V Quality is impressive. Plus, the DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track kicks it up a notch. The 1080p transfer keeps the Cohen streak going. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 10/14/2014