Julian Kemp’s “My Last Five Girlfriends” is less romance than ode to heartbreak — the London-based comedy starts off with a suicide attempt by Duncan (Brendan Patricks), whose will to live has been shattered by the brutal end of his most recent relationship. The story then cycles back to the beginning of the trail of doomed romances, introducing us to Wendy (Kelly Adams) — wasn’t over her ex; Olive (Jane March) — impenetrable; Rhona (Cécile Cassel) — moody and just not the right fit; Natalie (Edith Bukovics) — co-dependent; and Gemma (Naomie Harris), who he loved the most and who cheated on him with his best friend.
Adapted from Swiss writer Alain de Botton’s rather precious best-seller “On Love,” “My Last Five Girlfriends” plays like a revved-up “High Fidelity” without the delayed coming of age. The film snaps, quick cut, from one clever visual bit to another — a stuffed elephant offers distracting commentary during a hook-up, a framing device imagines Duncan’s life as a theme park, with each girl given her own themed ride. It’s entertaining, but it all has the unmistakably flat feel of a (admittedly clever) TV sitcom, the segments skimming through what Duncan understood about each girl, half reminiscence, half therapy session. Patricks is likable as a lead and a narrator, but the film is written so insistently from Duncan’s point of view that he seems a perpetual victim, none of his would-be loves emerging as flesh and blood.