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L'Auberge Espagnole

By Ian Grey | Posted

After a stylistically over-unctuous first reel, Cédric Klapisch's L'Auberge Espagnole settles down to be as enjoyable a European identity-crisis college comedy as one could hope for. Milquetoast twentysomething Parisian writer wannabe Xavier (Romain Duris) gets a chance to study at a Barcelona university. Alas, he must leave behind his girlfriend, Martine (Audrey "Amélie" Tatou). But he has lots to distract him when he lands an apartment share with students from Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Real World-style alliances form and flitter away, Xavier gets to bed a married woman (Judith Godrèche), life lessons follow. Belly-laugh-light but so sweet-natured that the clichés barely grind, L'Auberge also limns its Euro-students sweating out tests, reading for pleasure, and expending energy on understanding one other. Later, a Real Cancun-style American student appears, gets drunk, plays awful guitar, and seduces and then screws one of the Euro-girls while howling like a dog. And so much for comparative culture studies.

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