Alex And Eve

12 October 2015 | 4:03 pm | Sam Baran

"The ethnic and religious tension at Alex and Eve's core is genuinely engaging."

Unlike most romantic comedies, Alex And Eve isn't really about the relationship between its main characters. The stuttering rollercoaster that is Greek high-school teacher Alex (Richard Brancatisano) and Lebanese Muslim lawyer Eve's (Andrea Demetriades) relationship takes a sideline to the religious and ethnic tensions between them and their families. Streams of invective are unleashed every other scene by parents who view the others as lazy, greedy, or simply no good.

When left to their own devices, Alex and Eve share a pleasant on-screen chemistry, with believable affection and tenderness. The problem is that the script gets in the way, determined instead to throw in the rom-com spanners you'd expect — 'hilarious' misunderstandings and whoops, was that your chair? — ruining moments that might otherwise leave you invested in their relationship and hoping it works out. As a consequence, the family-induced strife that dominates the second half loses a lot of its emotional impact.

All of this aside, the ethnic and religious tension at Alex And Eve's core is genuinely engaging, especially when set against the backdrop of multicultural Sydney and current events. The challenges inherent to Alex and Eve's relationship as children of traditional Greek and Muslim parents are explored well, if inconsistently so. This reviewer can't help but feel this film would have worked better if it had focussed more on the relationships at its heart than on the tired 'romantic' cliches of its genre.