Fasten Your Seatbelts, the opening night film for this year’s free ticketed European Union Film Festival,tries to create a crazy romantic relationship dynamic, but is ultimately derailed by a narrative that has too many jarring and bizarre tonal shifts, going for a romantic farce one minute to a serious drama the next and back again.
Elena and Antonio are not two people that you’d ever be able to envision together. They’re polar opposites. Them falling for each other makes no sense at all mostly because Elena is engaged to Giorgio (and her best friend hates him for being openly homophobic) while Antonio is engaged to Silvia, who just happens to be Elena’s other best friend.
In Fasten Your Seatbelts the brakes, steering, suspension and even the cup holder doesn’t work as the film bounces and lurches all over the map without ever taking the time to get even a single emotion right.
From comedy to drama back to black comedy and back to drama again, it’s just painfully difficult to try and care about these characters as they interact with each other. Even when the movie tries to make us care for Elena by giving her cancer (yeah, it’s one of those shameless movies), it’s forced, contrived, and manipulative in the worst way. The only character development the film can muster comes from the attractiveness of the actors, and that’s a terrible sign.
Fasten Your Seatbelts shows that in life, shit happens and you just have to make the best of it, much like I will at the end of this sentence by forgetting that I ever sat through this. (Dave Voigt)