Stir Americans abroad with a bit of "Flashdance," spike with "The Sheltering Sky" and throw in the kitchen sink and you have "Snapshots," a feel-good romantic comedy that, like its ex-hippie hero, feels no embarrassment about itself whatsoever. Pic's sheer silliness is ultimately its main appeal.
Stir Americans abroad with a bit of “Flashdance,” spike with “The Sheltering Sky” and throw in the kitchen sink and you have “Snapshots,” a feel-good romantic comedy that, like its ex-hippie hero, feels no embarrassment about itself whatsoever. Pic’s sheer silliness is ultimately its main appeal, though Burt Reynolds fans may get some kinky pleasure out of hearing thesp quote Ezra Pound in his second-hand bookstore overlooking a scenic Dutch canal. Buyers who find this in their package deal may wonder what to do with it; the answer is homevideo.
Larry Brodsky (Reynolds) flies the U.S. flag proudly outside his dusty Amsterdam establishment, though he hasn’t set foot in the States since he left for Morocco as a long-haired freak in search of himself. Per flashbacks, he was saved from desert sunstroke by the mysterious, henna-handed Narma; back at the oasis, the two fell for each other, but as she was already married at 16, he took to the road with a cheery “au reservoir!”
Back in the present, Narma (Julie Christie) is now the sophisticated owner of a Moroccan restaurant in Los Angeles. Her teenage daughter, dusky-skinned beauty Aisha (Carmen Chaplin), is totally American but decides to look for herself in dangerous Amsterdam. Aisha finds living space aboard a houseboat, where she begins taking ever more audacious nude photos of herself “to find her identity.” The backyard voyeurism of these scenes, which start with a wet T-shirt and progress from there, is almost touching.
Meanwhile, Larry is angrily shredding remaining copies of “Neon Goddess Psalms,” a Narma-inspired book of sappy poetry he wrote in his youth. A heartless businessman (Pierre Bokma, injecting a comic note) is trying to buy him out with briefcases full of money, but he isn’t having any.
Only after meeting Aisha and sorting out his confused feelings for her (aided by Narma’s surprise visit to Amsterdam) can he recover his zest for life.
Veteran Dutch helmer Rudolf van den Berg and editor Kant Pan manage to tell this globe-trotting mess of a tale without the slightest narrative confusion. Reynolds horses around with down-to-earth honesty, Christie flaunts a mature feminine allure, and Chaplin has the malicious innocence of a teen-underwear commercial.