Five years after the events of 'Pot Luck' ('L'Auberge Espagnole') - in which young Frenchman Xavier (Duris) fell in with a polyglot household during a life-changing Barcelona summer - director Cédric Klapisch reunites the very attractive housemates in enjoyable trans-European rom-com 'Russian Dolls' ('Les Poupées Russes').
Just after hitting 30, Xavier is a little disillusioned. He dreams of writing a novel yet, to make ends meet, he is a ghostwriter for celebrities as well as writing scripts for trashy romantic TV series. Although still searching for the perfect woman, Xavier has plenty of female complications in his life. His mother wants him to meet her new boyfriend; he babysits for ex-girlfriend Martine (Tautou, thoroughly enjoying herself); moves in with lesbian Isabelle (France); has a brief encounter with shop assistant Kassia (Maïga) and is writing the memoirs of spoiled British supermodel Celia (Gordon) - all the time while working with English scriptwriter Wendy (a nuanced performance from Reilly).
Meanwhile, Wendy's brother William (Bishop) has fallen in love with a Russian ballet dancer, Natalia (Obraztsova, a real life member of the Kirov Ballet Company) and wants all his friends to come to St Petersburg for their wedding.
Along with all the city-hopping (Paris, London, Saint Petersburg, Moscow) and soul-searching, Klapisch is also prone to stylistic flights of fancy - fast-forwarding, scenes comprised of photo snapshots and quirky flights of fantasy which echo the youthful exuberance so much in evidence on screen. There are some brilliant touches, with the sequence when Xavier persuades the mannish Isabelle to don a dress and pretend to be his fiancée so he can introduce her to his 98-year-old grandfather a particular highlight. The clones that appear in the background as Xavier waffles on in job interviews are also inspired.
Although 'Russian Dolls' does drag a little, Klapisch's portrait of these young, smart, sexy and well-educated late 20/early 30-something Europeans is so very charming and entertaining that it's difficult to dislike. Those who enjoyed the original 'Pot Luck' will love this instalment in what, hopefully, could become an ongoing series.