Russia’s domestically popular, aging enfant terrible Alexei Balabanov explores his gentler side in “It Doesn’t Hurt,” a clumsily made romance which thankfully eschews the racist elements that marred helmer’s last, “Dead Man’s Bluff,” and the preening nationalism of his “Brother” franchise. Lead femme Renata Litvinova submits a Bette Davis-like turn as a rich man’s mistress who takes a younger lover on the side. However, even she can’t save “Hurt” from its painfully banal, would-be tragic ending. Pic opened well locally on June 15, but looks most likely go straight to ancillary offshore.
Budding developer Misha (Aleksandr Yatsenko) and his colleagues — ex-soldier Oleg (Balabanov-regular Dmitry Dyuzhev) and tom-boy Alya (Inga Oboldina) — share dilapidated digs in St. Petersburg while they build a business renovating apartments. Meet-cute between Misha and Tati (Litvinova) takes place when she hires his firm to overhaul her spacious home, owned by her jealous, Mafioso lover (Nikita Mikhalkov). After practically jumping Misha’s at-first hesitant bones, Tati wins him over with her kooky, free-spirit ways. Tech package is below par for Balabanov, suggesting less than enthusiastic commitment from helmer to material.