Kit (Gael García Bernal, "The Motorcycle Diaries") and his buddies Tom (Tom Hardy, "Black Hawk Down") and Theo (Charlie Cox) are engrossed with their video camera as they enter a tony restaurant. When the Maitre D' asks if they would mind sharing a table, Kit's delighted to see that a group of pretty young women, all wearing black wigs and moustaches, will be their dining companions. Tom ventures that they're a group of lesbians, but once again the Maitre D' steps in, announcing that they are a hen party and the bride to be must follow the French custom of kissing the man of her choice as a goodbye to the single life. Carmen (Natalia Verbeke, "Jump Tomorrow") chooses Kit in more ways than one "dot the i."
Writer/director Matthew Parkhill, a novelist, makes his film debut with this gimmicky love triangle. This amateurish film has a few moments and features attractive stars, but Parkhill has stretched himself thin attempting both screenplay and direction. Coincidentally, the film's opening credits, shown over homevid of star Verbeke, play to the song "Perhaps," which was Bernal's drag show number in "Bad Education."
The movie opens with Barnaby (James D'Arcy, "Master and Commander") proposing 'cute' to Carmen, using an onion ring from the dinner he's preparing. After the restaurant kiss with Kit, though, Carmen obviously never felt passion for her fiance, but insists that she loves and wants to marry him. Kit persists, however, but after he wins her on her wedding night, Carmen returns later with news so shocking, Kit is forced to reveal a lie which he has manipulated her with. Suddenly, everyone is like one of the chess pieces Barnaby has been moving around his board.
Parkhill mistakes manic running around (artlessly cut together by editor Jon Harris, "Snatch") and noisy flash dissolves for energy. He directs his actors in service to the plot, not their characters. Natalia Verbeke has nice screen presence, particularly performing a fiery flamenco, but no chemistry with either of her costars. Bernal is actually bland, his director gradually stranding him until he has no place to go. D'Arcy serves up ham with relish in one transitional scene, enjoying himself so much he brings us along for a brief ride. Hardy and Cox are amusing sidekicks playing characters who seem to have been dropped in from a Kevin Smith flick. Production design is drab and there is little sense of place in this London based film.
"dot the i" (the title refers to some type of Latin word game based on the word love) is an okay enough exercise, but has no emotional reverb. Parkhill shows the enthusiasm of a film school student too intent on being clever. Maturity may make him a talent to watch.
Robin gives "dot the i" a C+.
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