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Release Date: 03/08/24 [Festival Run]
Genre: Comedy. Horror.

[Seen at SXSW Film Festival 2024]

"Stranded in rural Italy without transportation or language skills, an American couple on the verge of adopting tries to reconnect during a disastrous vacation, as their fears and relationship problems threaten to boil over." 


From the opening scene, I Don’t Understand You sets the stage to be a light-hearted comedy. Don (Nick Kroll) and his husband Cole (Andrew Rennalls) are applying for adoption again after a series of upsetting false starts. While they wait to see if a new birth mother will select them to be the parents to her unborn baby, they celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary with a trip to Italy. 


The vacation starts out fairly normal. The couple wanders around Italy and then meets up with Dom’s family friend, Daniele (Paolo Romano). As a surprise, Daniele has booked them a dinner with a woman who used to own a restaurant for an exclusive meal at her home. After getting lost in the woods and then dropped off at the correct location by a rugged and pissed off Frenchman, they meet Zia (Nunzia Schiano), the renowned chef. What follows is a series of bizarre encounters and incidents that are best left to view with your own eyes. But the movie quickly shifts from a family comedy to something more hilariously horrible with a dead body count that rapidly increases. 


The standout here is Kroll and Rannells’ fantastic chemistry, which smoothes over many of the film's issues. The gag goes on a tad too long, losing some of its appeal and what made it funny (and shocking) in the process. Writer and director duo David Joseph Craig and Brian Crano’s weak script is carried beautifully and helped immensely by its two stars. They fully commit to performing the increasingly unhinged behaviors with a gusto that is admirable. But after a few dead bodies hit the deck all that’s left to do is sigh as we relive the same scenarios over again. 


The whole lost in translation theme does work well here, with subtitled dialogue coming across funnier than it actually should be thanks to Kroll and Rannells’ facial expressions. And as a gay couple, their conditioning to being treated with a thin layer of hostility because of their sexual orientations causes confusion and chaos on top of the typical miscommunications. In one of the more memorable pre-death scenes a frazzled hotel clerk separates their bed all while mumbling apologies and referring to the couple as colleagues. In fact, their believable interactions as a married couple help assuage some of the absurdity that follows. 


I Don’t Understand You is a bit of a bumpy ride, but Kroll and Rannells’ comedic chops make this a fun one regardless.

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