The titular ingredients are never given a chance to mix

Blood And Chocolate

on January 26, 2007 by John P. McCarthy
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A werewolf movie with scant traces of animalism has got problems, even if it's not intended to be a full-on horror flick. Blood and Chocolate is dressed up to look like a teen romance with Shakespearean pretensions, so its problems go much deeper than the stingy use of blood and absence of scares. It doesn't work on any level, unless you count serving as a chaste template for Eastern European porn. Chocolate makes its way in because the heroine Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) works for a confectioner in Bucharest. Her true destiny, however, is to become the first female leader of her half-human, half-lupine race.

When her family is wiped out by angry hunters high in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, nine-year-old Vivian escapes into the forest. We catch up with her 10 years later in Romania, guilty about her family's demise and trying to reconcile her animal urges and moral qualms.

After an auspicious debut in Blue Car, Bruckner finds herself playing a rebellious, New World wolf and forced to react to plastic lines such as “These are the ways of our people,” and “It's who you are and always will be.” Olivier Martinez, who smoldered as Diane Lane's afternoon delight in Unfaithful, lays down the law as the absinthe-drinking, motorcycle-riding leader of the pack. At first blush, Hugh Dancy was cast because of his resemblance to Tom Everett Scott, star of 1998's An American Werewolf in Paris. But he turns out to be a bright spot as the Yankee graphic novelist who falls in love with Vivian and enables her to leave wolf ways behind. But first, he has to rumble with her cousin and, wily human that he is, use stolen cutlery to stop from being torn apart. Then, so the Romeo and Juliet parallels will jump out and grab you by the throat, the young lovers visit an apothecary to obtain a silver antidote.

From a book by Annette Curtis Klause, the humorless movie isn't helped by pedestrian special effects that rely on lots of slo-mo and growling noises and having humans morph into wolves while swan-diving through the air. The city of Bucharest is nicely showcased, but a tour of an underutilized locale can't compensate for the lack of creature frights or turn a mere sliver of teen romance into a compelling treat. Distributor: MGM
Cast: Agnes Bruckner, Olivier Martinez, Hugh Dancy, Katja Riemann, Bryan Dick, Chriss Geere, Tom Harper, John Kerr and Jack Wilson
Director: Katja von Garnier
Screenwriters: Ehren Kruger and Christopher Landon
Producers: Daniel Bobker, Wolfgang Esenwein, Hawk Koch, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg and Richard S. Wright
Genre: Fantasy romance
Rating: PG-13 for violence/terror, some sexuality and substance abuse
Running time: 98 min.
Release date: January 26, 2007

Tags: Agnes Bruckner, Olivier Martinez, Hugh Dancy, Katja Riemann, Bryan Dick, Chriss Geere, Tom Harper, John Kerr and Jack Wilson Director: Katja von Garnier Screenwriters: Ehren Kruger and Christopher Landon Producers: Daniel Bobker, Wolfgang Esenwein, Hawk Koch, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Richard S. Wright, MGM, Fantasy romance
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