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When commercials director Dag (Ron Eldard) is tempted to kiss the flirtatious, beautiful Rebecca (Marley Shelton), he gives in, not realising how the consequences of his act will ripple through the lives of everyone he is connected to. Peter (Patrick Breen) jets off with a movie-loving stewardess (Sarita Choudhoury) on a headline-making trip. Equally angry, Halley (Kyra Sedgwick) is drawn to sweet-talking cellist (Taye Diggs). Dag ends up in chains after seducing a dominatrix bowling alley attendant (Marisa Tomei). All this, as a result of Just A Kiss.

Review by Louise Keller:
Just a Kiss. Of course there is no such thing as Ďjust a kissí. As we all know, one thing leads to another and actor turned filmmaker Fisher Stevens has taken the Ďone kissí premise as a starting point, mixed it with some attention grabbing animation, added flashbacks in different time frames, plus added a Sliding Doors-like Ďonly ifí element. Itís interesting in parts, but much of it feels derivative and a little like an experimental drama workshop.

Written by Patrick Breen who plays Peter, the animation comprises of sections of scenes whose scenes are graphically painted by computer animators. The result, while striking, does not sit naturally here. Live action is jerky as it morphs into the stylised animation, making it nothing more than distracting and a bit of a novelty. This technique was so successfully proffered by filmmaker Richard Linklater in his inventive and unique film Waking Life, in which the characters were totally animated, allowing us all the while to still recognise their features.

But letís go back to Just a Kiss. The film contains vignettes about infidelity linking all the while characters that are all somehow connected. From a simple encounter in Bruxelles between a suicidal ballet dancer called Rebecca and a somewhat arrogant director of tv commercials who bears the unlikely name of Dag (after a poet), we become engrossed in the lives of an actor called Peter (who claim to fame comes from dressing up as the Peanut Butter Eagle Ė a character in a fluffy suit), a Negro American cello player/teacher by the name of Andre, an flighty air hostess (Colleen) who likes picking up lost travellers and a manic bowling alley waitress/nurse named Paula, who is deeply into S & M.

Itís hard to keep track of who is supposed to be with whom, from the bedroom to the funeral parlour. Yes, the funeral parlour! Just you wait! There are too many infidelities, too many coincidences, and thatís when the film revisits the very first infidelity and wonders what would have happened if it had never happened? Confused? Iím not surprised. Shame, because the performances (especially Marisa Tomei as the psychotic Paula, and Taye Diggs as the gentle cellist are quite engrossing).

Published December 18, 2003

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CAST: Ron Eldard, Patrick Breen, Kyra Sedgwick, Marley Shelton, Marisa Tomei, Taye Diggs, Sarita Choudhury, Zoe Caldwell, Ron Rifkin

DIRECTOR: Fisher Stevens

SCRIPT: Patrick Breen

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen version enhanced for 16: 9; English subtitles



DVD RELEASE: December 18, 2003

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