Romance &amp; Cigarettes (15) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Handle with care. John Turturro, on his third outing as writer-director, perhaps got so excited at the prospect of a screwball comedy musical - and a tiptop cast to perform it - that he decided to let coherence and discipline look after themselves. A mistake. James Gandolfini takes a break from The Sopranos to play a construction worker whose affair with a flame-haired temptress (Kate Winslet) is discovered by his wife (Susan Sarandon), prompting their family and the surrounding neighbourhood to break into song at all hours of the day and night.

Occasionally it's glorious, as when the inimitably nutty Christopher Walken hoofs along to Elvis, but for the most part it's hysterically pumped-up and false, nowhere more so than in Winslet's performance. Make her blowsy and lewd, fine; call her "Tula", if you must; but why have her talk in a straight-outta-Rada Yorkshire accent? (And what would such a woman be doing in New Jersey anyway?). Not as pompous as Moulin Rouge, but hopelessly misconceived all the same.

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