On Tuesday night, IFC Films held a special evening around Daniele Thompson’s latest film, Change of Plans. The night began with a screening of the film at the IFC Center, and concluded with a dinner party at Diane von Furstenberg’s DVF Studio in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Von Furstenberg hosted the whole evening, and cited during her introduction of the film that she and Daniele Thompson are old friends. The French director behind recent releases such as Avenue Montaigne (2006) and Jet Lag (2002) is perhaps best known to American audiences as the writer of many beloved French films. Of course, this includes her Oscar-nominated screenplay for Cousin cousine (1975), which was adapted into Joel Schumacher’s 1989 romantic comedy Cousins, starring Ted Danson and Isabella Rossellini. Thompson’s work is very commercial, often commenting (with humor) on the complications of adult relationships.
Change of Plans serves as a charming relationship comedy about a group of married couples who come together for a dinner party. Through her clever direction, Thompson lets the audience quickly realize that the relationships between these friends are far more complicated than we believe. More often than not, adultery comes into play, and seemingly decent people find themselves in shattered emotional circumstances. Change of Plans shuffles between the primary dinner party and the lives of the characters one year later, as a means to develop their ultimate ambitions. Some of them have a breakthrough at the dinner party, that allows them to find greater peace and happiness. Others had been looking for a new life whilst sitting at that dinner table, but discovered beauty in their existing lives after fate played a hand. Either way, Thompson’s screenplay is an enjoyable volley between varying degrees of happy adult romance. The film is polished and peppy, with about as much edge as a teaspoon. Nevertheless, with the guidance of a skilled auteur like Thompson (as well as a great cast of notable French actors), Change of Plans manages to feel fresh. It’s a bit diverting, but grounded in emotional realism, like a French take on American filmmakers James L. Brooks or Nora Ephron.
IFC Films is scheduled to release Change of Plans in theaters and cable Movies On Demand, in August.