A brief review or just a reminder of the 1994 Whit Stillman film Barcelona. This rather dead pan comedy follows a pair of ex-patriot cousins as they explore their past, fall in and out of love with local women and eventually discover a future where they can coexist without friction. Ted is an electric motor salesman working for an American company in Spain. Fred is a envoy for the US Navy who arrives in Barcelona to pave the way for a fleet visit in a country still getting over the Franco era and suspicious of the United states. Like Metropolitan, a earlier Stillman film, Barcelona reflects a time prior to the era in which it was shot without precisely nailing down the date. Fred semi imposes himself on his cousin. He is snarky and a bit of a con man while Ted is earnest in the extreme. Neither one is probably much of a catch but they are exotic foreigners to the Spanish and soon they have made inroads with a group of the attractive girls who work the Barcelona trade fair. The plot is very much "Boy Meets Girl ..." but is mixed up in many different supersizing and amusing ways. The real story behind the story is Fred and Ted and if they can reconcile the trifling yet poignant issues of their past. The interplay of characters and cultures is hysterical ... but in the subtlest of ways. The humor is played straight and dry but easily hits the heights of a good Woody Allen or Wes Anderson film. Stillman's other films are an acquired taste but this one, while remaining stylistically consistent, is a significant cut above; more accessible and the film is significantly better shot ... Barcelona is vastly more beautiful here than in say, Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona. Taylor Nichols and Chris Eigeman are flawlessly cast and at ease with Stillman's intentionally stilted dialog. This quirky word smithing was played for laughs in Metropolitan and it is here too but this is a more natural version, more honestly the character's voices than that of the screenwriter. Aussie/UK actress Tushka Bergen and American Mira Sorvino as well as then new comer Hellena Taylor show off their chops as convincing Spaniards and in delivering the goods when it comes to reacting to, or NOT reacting to, the quirky Americans. Kudos all around Anytime I'm feeling badly about the world (like recently) I watch this movie. It presents a universe where complete cultural misunderstanding yet total respect and acceptance is possible. Traditional comedy is about the sorting out of who belongs with whom and this is no exception. There are no heights of heroism but it truly is a story where love conquers all.