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The Man Who Copied

(2005) *** Unrated
123 min. TLA Releasing. Director: Jorge Furtado. Cast: Lazaro Ramos (II), Leandra Leal, Luana Piovani, Pedro Cardoso, Julio Andrade.
Alongside Fernando Meirelles's City of God and others, this Brazilian romantic comedy/film noir from Jorge Furtado signifies an explosion of adventurous talent in Brazil's film community. Lázaro Ramos of Madam Satã plays André, a late-teenage copy clerk with artistic talent, low self-esteem, and empty pockets. Gabbing away on the soundtrack, André fills us in on his best-laid plans (or best plans to get laid, as the case may be), but each hinges on money he doesn't have. So an increasingly shifty André begins planning how to get--or make--money. What follows is an unconventional romance between the peeping-tom André and his neighbor Sílvia (Leandra Leal), a complex crime movie, and a jaunty comedy with some of the richest laugh lines I've heard in some time. It all comes down to credible characterization, and though many may blanch at the film's moral relativism (some drastic measures may be too easily excused), few will leave this stylish, adventurous film wanting for entertainment.
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