Men are men, women are women, and never the twain shall meet. That's what writer-director Austin Chick's XX/XY suggests, anyway. Notice how that slash in the title keeps the two sets of chromosomes apart. It also serves to bind them together, of course, and Chick obviously wants to capture the push/pull of modern romance. But like the NYC college students he follows, the movie seems a little inchoate, as if it were waiting for somebody to tell it what to do. Then we flash-forward 10 years, and the movie still isn't gelling. Nor are the characters, who quickly pick up where they left off in the game of musical beds. Perhaps the movie's about our inability to decide whom to love and how to live. Or maybe Chick couldn't decide what it's about. Either way, it leaves you wanting more. Or less.
It opens with a bang. A guy (Mark Ruffalo) meets a girl at a party and, a few jump cuts later, winds up with two girls for the price of one. He's Coles, a filmmaker who will eventually segue into advertising. They're Sam (Maya Stange) and Thea (Kathleen Robertson), who aren't assigned careers, for some reason. Anyway, Coles and Sam become an item, with the occasional assist from Thea, but Coles has a ' wouldn't you know it? ' commitment problem. Ten years later, he still has a commitment problem, hooking up with Sam again even though he's all but married to Claire (Petra Wright). It's all very French, somehow ' at least it's supposed to be, Chick layering a voulez-vous chanson over the opening and closing credits. But rarely has a mÃnage-Ã-trois, especially one that shows this much skin, left me feeling so blasÃ.