This whimsical and quirky French romantic comedy is as sweet and delicious as one of the delicate chocolates conjured up by its lead characters, without quite providing the substance of a proper meal.

Isabelle Carre and Benoit Poelvoorde, who previously worked together in the thriller In His Hands, lighten up and star as two socially inept chocolate makers who meet when Angelique (Carre) comes to work as a sales rep at Jean-Rene's (Poelvoorde) financially troubled chocolate company.

Angelique and Jean-Rene are charming together as they clumsily navigate their mutual attraction, each unaware the idea of dating is generating a similar anxiety in the other.

After fumbling and sweating their way through their first date, which doesn't end well when Jene-Rene flees through a restaurant bathroom window, they rebuild their relationship as they concentrate on trying to save the chocolate business.


Anqelique, who it turns out is a famous chocolate maker who has kept her identity secret from Jene-Rene, comes up with a plan to anonymously create a range of chocolates to save the company.

Each character has their confidantes, and it's through these relationships that we learn more about them and their issues. In Angelique's case it's her support group, an eclectic collection of emotionally challenged romantics who she shares her story with.

Rene discusses his intimacy issues and terror of women with a therapist who sets him a task to accomplish each week, such as to "touch someone".

Their afflictions create plenty of opportunities for misunderstandings and comedic set pieces, but director Jean-Pierre Ameris also puts some effort into getting beyond the laughs and conveying a sense of the sadness created by their debilitating fears.

Mostly though, Romantics Anonymous is a feel-good charmer, aided by little touches such as a retro soundtrack and slightly unexpected song and dance routines. It's not Chocolat or Amelie, it's too light, frothy and forgettable for that, but there is plenty here to amuse you. You'll also come out with a hankering for something sweet.

Stars: 3/5
Cast: Benoit Poelvoorde, Isabelle Carre
Director: Jean-Pierre Ameris
Running time: 75 mins
Rating: M
Verdict: Quirky lighthearted romance French style