Picking up where The Spanish Apartment leaves us, The Russian Dolls feels fresher, as now the film solely focuses itself on the life of its singular main character, Xavier (Romain Duris in his relaxed performance), particularly in his love department. This means, unlike the predecessor, the film does not have to carry a burden of allocating spaces for multiple characters, which in turn left the first film with a little bit of misled direction.
The focusing does not come with its consequences though, and the one who suffers most from the reduction effect is Audrey Tatou’s character as Xavier’s initial girlfriend, Martine. Halfway throughout the film, the character somehow goes off the film completely, only to be revealed in a lesser scene towards the end, which does not explain or enhance her presence, except to reinstate her annoying charisma built from the beginning.
Yet, the same cannot be said with Kelly Reilly (that particular shining stripper from Mrs. Henderson Presents) who plays Wendy, Xavier’s English girlfriend. Arguably the only character in the film that breathes full of life, Reilly brings her character in such a charming and likeable manner. Every single turn of her moves, be them as a jealous girlfriend or while hiding her repression of pain, Reilly does them with a believable persona that draws us to her close, rooting for more of her presence.
The rest of returning cast gives a slight brush to the film, which now works as if the audience has graduated from wearing United Colors of Benetton, to a more staple line of Zara. In short, it may not that greatly colorful, but whatever available there are steady ones that will stick to your memory most.