It is, perhaps, best not to expect too much from the directorial debut of Grace Kelly’s ex-hairdresser; still, How to Seduce Difficult Women is woefully incompetent and ugly, throwing out multiple threads without resolution, randomly interspersed with man-in-Union-Square documentary commentary of the Mars/Venus kind. Writing, producing, and directing, Richard Temtchine makes his debut with more or less the He’s Just Not That Into You B-side: men discovering that, despite their stereotypical inadequacies, the ladies really are into them. Self-help author/Frenchman Philippe (Louis-Do de Lencquessaing) teaches a how-to class for 10 lady-challenged New York men, ranging from classroom instruction to real-time, got-your-back guidance on the streets and in the bars. Temtchine deserves props for bypassing the usual rom-com assumption that ludicrously expensive dates and rewarding relationships go hand in hand. And the 10 guys represent a fine cross-section of NYC economic life, from lowly doorman to high-powered exec, but they’re all stereotypes, the most egregious being Mo (Jonathan Hova), the indeterminately Middle Eastern guy who speaks the tongue of Borat (“Make sexy for women”). As for those women, they tend to be the same way: The Peruvian girl yells, “Ay, dios mio” during sex, and the Jewish mother tsks, “Didn’t I varn you not to marry a shiksa?” That half of these characters are simply dropped with no conclusion is inexplicable: Doesn’t everyone deserve a clichéd happy ending?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 27, 2009