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Stanley Tucci's BLIND DATE

After Dutch director Theo Van Gogh (yes, he’s related to Vincent) was murdered in 2004 as a result of making SUBMISSION (many Muslims thought it was overly critical of Islam), American actors have been practically queuing up to direct English-language versions of his films. Steve Buscemi was first with INTERVIEW (2007), and up next to pay homage is Stanley Tucci, whose remake of Van Gogh’s 1996 BLIND DATE premiered at Sundance last year.

Directing and starring alongside Patricia Clarkson, Tucci plays Don, an intentionally shoddy magician and one half of a failed marriage with Janna (Clarkson). The couple go on a series of blind dates by responding each other’s phony personal ads in the hope of rekindling their relationship. Only in their assumed roles (Woman seeks dancing partner, Reporter seeks aggressive woman) are they able to speak about the tragedy that tore them apart. 

The most interesting moments are when the artifice is acknowledged by both Don and Janna, who quickly try to cover it back up again. Janna, for instance, may break out of character and Don will angrily mutter something under his breath at which point she snaps back into her role. There are some humorous exchanges, but these characters are ultimately doomed. The more blind dates they go on, the closer they come to realizing that the set up, their bit of make-believe, isn’t going anywhere. These are difficult roles to play, and Tucci and Clarkson perform them like old hat. Tucci is especially expressive here – a slight facial twitch feels natural and speaks louder than words. 

BLIND DATE opens Sept. 25th