Published Jul 18, 2013That a term like "food porn" is even necessary speaks to the bizarre lengths we've gone to document our daily meals. Food's ubiquity on television and the Internet hasn't translated well to the big screen; it's tough to build a plot around a bowl of pasta. However, Toronto director Nikola Curcin gives it a/ shot in his latest feature, Adriatico My Love.
The film follows Alex Gull (Valerie Buhagiar), a cable food TV host who hightails it to a small Croatian island after getting the boot from her job in Toronto. Dragging her daughter, Lucy, along, the trip is ostensibly about filming the island's unique culinary fare. However, it's quickly revealed that Alex spent time on the island as a teenager and the trip is as much about tracking down her former lover as it is Mediterranean cooking.
While Alex busies herself searching for a man who may or may not still be alive, Lucy, oblivious to the drama unfolding around her mother, strikes out on her own, meeting a local who she quickly falls for. Meanwhile, Alex's inner-turmoil drives a wedge further between their already fractured relationship.
Part Eat, Pray, Love part Mamma Mia, Adriatico My Love doesn't come close to touching either of those very modest benchmarks. Curcin's film looks like a karaoke video and plays like a tourist infomercial for Mediterranean vacations.
It's obvious that Adriatico was made on a shoestring budget, even by Canadian feature standards — the background of every shot paints a picture of an island paradise devoid of people. Films don't have to look pretty — Kevin Smith certainly proved that with Clerks — but they do have to engage the audience on some level.
Curcin fails to glorify the setting and its food or emotionally engage the audience with his two main characters. Adriatico my Love is ugly, soulless and dull. No amount of seasoning is going save this meal. (Kinosmith)