Km. 0

Km. 0

Directed by Yolanda García Serrano, Juan Luis Iborra. Starring Concha Velasco, Georges Corraface, Silke Hornillos Klein, Carlos Fuentes, Mercè Pons, Alberto San Juan, Elisa Matilla, Armando del Río. (2000, NR, 108 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Nov. 7, 2003

One hot summer afternoon 14 people come to Km. 0 (kilometer zero), a spot in the heart of Madrid, for various romantic assignations. But Cupid has never been known for his perfect marksmanship, so the arranged liaisons never quite hook up, but everyone goes home happy nevertheless. Like the song says, "If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with." That’s kind of the spirit of this Spanish import, a freewheeling romantic comedy that seems a pleasant enough trifle but has a feel that might only be termed Almodóvar Lite. Like their fellow countryman Pedro Almodóvar, filmmakers Iborra and Serrano present a universe of pansexual opportunities. But the numerous storylines in Km. 0 and the bland ways in which they are filmed make this movie little more than a passing fancy. Km. 0 comprises a series of meet-cute scenarios, all pleasantly performed, and all based on mistaken identities. Among the various characters are a wannabe film director who goes off with a hooker who thinks he’s her prearranged date, her intended date who whiles away the time with a gay hustler, a young woman who keeps getting mugged and falls in love with the policeman who files her case, a middle-aged woman starved for love who hires a gigolo who may or may not be the son she gave up for adoption, and so on. All these worlds collide in Km. 0, but for all its insularity, the movie never really provides a sense of place. This story could take place in any urban center; there is nothing that types it as the "heart of Madrid." The movie treats all its characters kindly – especially in moments where it would be easy to go for the cheap shot – but there’s either not enough froth or meat on its bones to sate the appetite.

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