Directed by: #ShirelPeleg
Written by: #ShirelPeleg
Celebrating love, family, and forgiveness, Shirel Peleg’s Kiss Me Before It Blows Up is a charming light-hearted feature about how love can overcome cultural differences (and how it stumbles along the way). Stuffed with feel-good moments, warm and cheesey smiles, the film nonetheless fails to outgrow its own stereotypes, relying on the formulas and skits of prior rom-coms to carry itself through. Perhaps the queer romance is meant to enhance the comedic conventions, even subvert them, but instead the film presents an uneasy mix of awkward dialogue and inconsequential consequences.
The film is at its best when exploring how generational differences interfere with modern relationships. The young wise-cracking Shira (Moran Rosenblatt) is horrified when her grandmother - a holocaust survivor - vehemently disproves of her girlfriend Maria (Luise Wolfram) due to her German ancestry, denouncing her as the spawn of Hitler. Kiss Me has moments of pointed and well-timed humour, best executed by the older actors in the cast: Shira’s mismatched parents (John Carroll Lynch and Init Kaplan) and cynical grandmother (Rivka Michaeli). Luise Wolfram captures the discomfort and displacement of Maria wonderfully, a young woman trying so hard to impress her potential in-laws despite the fact that her shortcomings having nothing to do with her, just her DNA. Moran Rosenblatt has moments where she shines as Shira, but there are times where her performance borders on the unreal, a care-free archetype who rarely reveals a true person underneath (though this issue may be rooted more in the script than Rosenblatt’s ability).
Rather than have their sexuality govern the script, Peleg relies on cultural difference to drive the plot, which works for the material. Family pasts are uncovered in scenes of revelation. However such revelations seem to contribute little to the plot or character psychology. They linger and characters circle around them, but one can’t help feel that more could have been done with the material at hand. Perhaps if Kiss Me explored some further nuance in the dynamics of Shira’s relationship with Maria, if pacing was taken into account, then it would be a stronger, more memorable film. Kiss Me has the makings of a meaningful rom-com, its light-heartedness grounded in something solid, but its odd-ball sensibility can’t make up for a lack of originality.