Language of a Broken Heart

| March 16, 2013

Most romantic comedies are not very good, but in them we can often find at least one redeeming quality. Sometimes it’s a short exchange or dialogue, or a single line, which resonates with us. Sometimes it’s the charm of a lead actor, or the chemistry between protagonists or an impassioned love scene. Language of a Broken Heart has none of these, or any other redemptive value.

Nick (Juddy Talt) has a lot of experience getting dumped and no experience on the flip side. From his first playground romance all the way up to a fractured engagement, Nick’s history of heartbreak spans decades, and that is despite the fact that he is the author of several best-selling romantic novels. When his sophisticated British fiancé Violet (Lara Pulver) ends their relationship (citing boredom) and starts seeing someone else, he is hopelessly hopeful that he can get her back and also confounded as ever as to how and why he can successfully convey love on the page, but is a perpetual failure at holding onto it in real life.

Returning to his suburban hometown in Illinois to gain some perspective and give Violet space, he spends his time avoiding his eccentric mother (Mimi, played by Julie White), hanging out with his childhood best friend Cubbie (Ethan Cohn) and obsessing over the break-up, when he meets a quirky girl names Emma (Kate French), who actually likes him the way he is and just may be the girl for him if he would let go of the past.

Language of a Broken Heart, shoots for the simple, straight-forward romantic comedy and they followed the formula, but the execution is sloppy and lackluster every step of the way. The script is weak, with dialogue that is stiff, and lacks wit, charm or anything interesting, engaging or honest. And, they found a cast that matches those vacancies. If Nick is supposed to be the sad, but lovable dork/loser that redeems him, then the lovable part is entirely lost. There is nothing very endearing about Nick, thanks mostly to the story, but also partly to the uneasy, anemic performance from Juddy Talt.

Kate French tries to bring a Rachel Bilson-Zooey Deschanel fusion to the character of Emma, and she while she is definitely super cute, she wasn’t quite on the mark with the quirky part, or at least she doesn’t make it look as effortless as Bilson and Deschanel do. Emma’s character and portrayal are inauthentic and annoying. Talt and French don’t really have any palpable chemistry on the screen and there were no winning moments written for them either. The subplots are also strained and boring, and save for a couple of bright moments from Julie White, the movie is altogether stiff and there is nothing for viewers to look forward to.

Language of a Broken Heart is now playing in NY and LA.

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