If you are someone who likes movies with a plot, character development, and continuity, “Barcelona” is not the movie for you. This new film written and directed by Whit Stillman, also the creator of the critically “disclaimed” “Metropolitan,” is quite reminiscent of his past work ... unfortunately. Although “Barcelona” looks cute in the preview, don’t pay $7 to see this monstrosity in the theater.
You may think we are being a bit harsh, but perhaps providing you with a plot synopsis will help you figure out why we rate this movie so poorly. The basis of the “plot” is a trite sentiment, tracing the satirical friction between Ted, a rather dull but respected salesman for an American car company in Barcelona, and his cousin, Fred, a naval ROTC Lieutenant second-grade. The action sputters on as the anal-retentive sales exec falls in love with a beautiful Spanish woman named Montserrat. Meanwhile, Fred plays the overly-patriotic American.
After a long absence, the action returns when Montserrat tells Ted that she has a ex-boyfriend, Ramone, whom she still lives with. After many intense pleadings from Ted, Montserrat agrees to leave Ramone. But, in attempting to leave Ramone, she ends up leaving Ted instead, emotionally crushing the salesman. Shortly after, partly out of his extreme leftist ideologies, and somewhat out of jealousy, Ramone prints an article in the paper claiming that Fred is a CIA agent, which subsequently gets Fred shot by some anti-Americans.
From then on the movie again begins to decline in action, consisting mainly of Fred being in a coma. Some spice is added by some beautiful Spanish women who help Ted care for Fred in the hospital. But the end is tacky.
Barcelona is one of the most disjointed pieces of work we’ve seen in a long time. The acting is microscopic and the writing is minuscule. We laughed when Fred and Marta were in bed. We laughed when Fred was shot. We laughed as he lay in a coma and said: “He MUST die!” Plus, there’s a little too much preachy political nonsense for comfort.