Owen Gleiberman
July 30, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Lucia, Lucia

Current Status
In Season
Adriana Trigiani
Random House

We gave it a C

Anxiety is a fair response to a midlife crisis, but that hardly means that we want to see the heroine of a movie spend scene after scene trapped in a nervous dither of indecision. That’s exactly what happens in Lucia, Lucia. Lucia (Cecilia Roth), loyal and frumpy, loses her husband just as the two are about to head off from their native Mexico for a vacation in Rio. Did he abandon her as she initially fears? Or was he kidnapped by terrorists? Could even the kidnap scenario be a cover-up for something more devious?

Roth, the costar of ”All About My Mother,” looks as if each possibility would fill her with an equal level of dyspeptic misery. The actress is actually quite beautiful (at times, she suggests a Latina Diane Lane), but she makes Lucia so cautious and forlorn that it’s as if she were trying to have a spiritual awakening without taking off her sleep mask. Lucia hooks up with an aging revolutionary (Carlos Alvarez-Novoa) and also a cute young musician (Kuno Becker) who falls for her, displaying a passion that might have been sexy if it weren’t so programmatic. Is the leftover lefty sentiment blander than the token lubriciousness? Depends on which one you’re watching.

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