February 14, 2014 at 1:00 am

Tom Long

Review: 'Girl on a Bicycle's' accents are exotic, but the story's old hat

The romantic comedy 'Girl on a Bicycle' stars Louise Monot as Cecile, an unemployed single mother with two small children. (Wiedemann & Berg Film GmbH & Co.)

“Girl on a Bicycle” wants us to know fluffy-headed romantic comedies belong to everybody, not just Americans.

Essentially, stupidity is an international condition. How reassuring.

The male lead in this film is Italian, his girlfriend is German, his best buddy is British and his romantic complication is French. Watching the movie, you’re not so much following a story as tracking its international distribution potential.

Still writer-director Jeremy Leven (he wrote “The Notebook” and “Real Steel”) knows what he’s going for — a dumb romantic farce with a multilingual cast — and he pretty much gets there. Whether you want to go with him is another question.

Paolo (Vincenzo Amato) drives a tour bus in Paris. He has just proposed marriage to his German flight attendant girlfriend, Greta (the adorable Nora Tschirner), when he starts repeatedly seeing a young woman riding about town on a bike. He becomes obsessed with her, so his best friend Derek (Paddy Considine) suggests Paolo ask for her number, thinking when they meet Paolo will no longer idealize the woman.

Instead, Paolo hits the woman with his bus. By accident, of course, but it leaves her with a broken leg and arm. Her name turns out to be Cecile (Louise Monot), she’s unemployed and a single mother with two small children.

Paolo promptly finds himself taking care of Cecile and her kids but, in the standard romantic comedy why-would-anybody-do-that way, he doesn’t tell Greta, instead opting for the typical web of unsustainable lies and silly situations that fuel such films.

You can guess the rest. No, seriously, you can. The big exposure. The teary bonding. The senseless break-up where one person won’t listen. The heart-warming reconciliation that shows true love will prevail. It’s all been done many times before. It’s just this time around there are a lot of different accents.

'Girl on a Bicycle'


Rated R for some sexuality, nudity and language

Running time: 101 minutes


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