Stagy and silly, "The Night We Never Met" will disappoint fans of Matthew Broderick ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Biloxi Blues") and Annabella Sciorra ("The Hand That Rocks the Cradle").
The actors tackle their roles well enough, but the film written and directed by award-winning playwright Warren Leight is an attempt at ensemble romantic comedy that seems rather foolish.
Broderick is a gourmet cook who works in a deli and seems to be the local cheese specialist. He's wallowing in self-pity after being dumped by an obnoxious, flighty French performance artist (Jeanne Tripplehorn, of "Basic Insinct," in a cartoonish performance). If that's not enough, the fastidious Broderick also shares an apartment with several slobs.
Meanwhile, Sciorra, a dental hygienist, is frustrated in her marriage to a self-absorbed lout, the kind of guy who buys a new home without consulting her.
The plot spins around Kevin Anderson, a slobbish womanizer, sub-leasing his bachelor pad to Broderick and Sciorra on a time-share basis.
Sciorra spends her days at the apartment painting. Broderick cooks for his dates, who won't eat his food. So, he leaves meals for Sciorra with sensitive notes.
Naturally, she falls for Broderick without ever meeting him, a la "The Shop Around the Corner." But when she decides to cheat on her husband, she winds up in a tryst with the wrong guy Anderson.
All of this is an uneven mix of feeble attempts at serious social commentary and very broad comedy, with such stereotypes as a non-English-speaking Norwegian sex bomb (Dana Wheeler-Nixon, the wronged wife in "Fletch").
There are a pair of funny scenes with an uncredited Garry Shandling as a dental patient, and in the final moment, when Broderick and Sciorra finally meet, there is some warmth. But it's too little too late.
"The Night We Never Met" is rated R for sex and nudity, a fair amount of profanity and some vulgar comments.
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