Gilbert Cruz
September 09, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Maybe there’s something noble about creating a film to highlight the issue of abject poverty in Africa and timing the airing to this year’s G8 summit. But melding such sober subject matter with an awkward and unbelievable love story is probably the wrong way to go about making a political statement, as evidenced in The Girl in the Café. Bill Nighy (Love Actually) as a lonely government employee and Kelly Macdonald (Gosford Park) as a mysterious young woman offer tender performances in a piece that otherwise comes across like its barren Icelandic setting — cold and gray.

EXTRAS A standard making-of, three deleted scenes, and a commentary in which director David Yates says his aim on this project was ”to motivate and inform”: ”You only make a film like this if you want to raise people’s awareness of what’s happening.” Unfortunately, Café‘s second half is dominated by precisely that kind of overly eager social entreaty.

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