I always know I'm in deep, serious trouble when I go to a film and the few seats that are populated are filled by weepy, single females who look like they left their boyfriends at home in front of the television to watch pro wrestling. Suddenly, I become painfully aware that I'm about to watch a movie that's going to play out like a poorly-written Hallmark card in an effort to make those women forget their miserable lives.
Indeed, in director Bruno ("One Tough Cop") Barreto's perfect world, farce leads to true love. In other words, no matter what may go wrong in life, if you just keep hoping and wishing and praying, things will work out in the end -- at least until you exit the theater and realize that Mr. No-Good Fat Ass is probably still sitting at home in front of the television with his gut hanging out screaming for The Rock to do something -- just do something!
Amy Irving, whose face looks like a stretched rubber band that's about to fire off into the sky, plays Mary Ann, an English teacher in Brazil. Her husband has been dead for a couple of years, which means she's ripe for love. Along comes Pedro Paulo (Antonio Fagundes), a lawyer, and when he sees Mary Ann, it's love at first sight. However, among the many problems that get in his way is a soccer player with the hots for Mary Ann too, and Mary Ann's friend, who's conducting an Internet romance. Basically, every sort of miscommunication that could happen, happens, and every wrong thing Pedro can see, he sees.
There's a subplot involving Pedro's father, which I didn't figure out until the end of the movie because the actor playing the father is about two years older than Fagundes. Until that point, I didn't know whether they were brothers or gay lovers or what. Since there's not one bit of dancing in this film even though it's called "Bossa Nova," I took the title to mean that life is like a stupid, flitty dance. This film has just given me one more reason to avoid dancing at all costs.
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