Slow pace in the most part of the movie.
As Good As It Gets
Fun premise, good actors, bad writing. This film seemed to have potential at the beginning but it quickly devolves into a trite action film. Ultimately it's very boring.
This is a pretty typical French farce. As is in seemingly all French movies, most of the characters are on vacation at a beach resort (although one actually stays back at home working!). There are three middle age couples and their assorted children/step-children. Two of the women (Charlotte Rampling and Karen Viard) are long-time friends and they meet a third woman (carole Bouquet) with a VERY jealous husband at the resort. Viard and her husband have a new baby and financial troubles. There's a young woman (Clotilde Coreau) and a teenage boy, who are somebody's children (this movie has no English subs and my French leaves a lot to be desired). Another daughter (Lou Doillon) has gone on a separate vacation to Chicago with her father's hapless employee and she proves to be WAY more than he can handle. One of the married couples each have casual, breezy affairs. There's also the usual French May-December sexual encounter, but with gender roles reversed (older woman-younger man) and a transsexual.I didn't really recognize most of the male cast, but the female cast here is quite impressive. Charlotte Rampling is a Brit actress, but since collaborating with Francois Ozon on a couple films, she has worked mostly in France the past decade or so. Carole Bouquet is a former Bond girl ("For Your Eyes Only") and ex-wife of Gerard Depardieu. She's had a long career in French film going all the way back to Luis Bunuel's last film, "That Obscure Object of Desire". Lou Doillon is the French daughter of another transplanted Brit actress, minor 60's sex symbol Jane Birkin, which would also make her the half-sister of Charlotte Gainsbourg. She is not as talented as her sibling, but she might be even more sexy, and she has pretty much all the erotic scenes here (of which there are surprisingly few for a French movie). Clotilde Coreau, on the other hand, might be most famous (well, with me anyway)for her hot and gratuitous lesbian scene in the bizarre French slasher film "Deep in the Woods", but most of her other French roles have been much more sedate and mainstream like the one here.Of course, I would need to see this with English subs to fully appreciate it, but even in French it is pretty energetic and fun. If you generally like these French/continental bedroom farces, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one.
The Movie Man
Carry on Conking!Summer things of course is a naughty metaphor for what people get up to on their annual holidays; in France it's a sport so it seems as just about every sexual mix and coupling is explored in this enjoyable and 'Carry On' style French farce, although they have neatly exchanged the nudity for suggestion. A thoughtOne in four couples apparently spilt up on Valentines Day ever year and it's a similar ratio for first time young lovers on their summer vacation because the pressure to perform romantically is often the final straw of not living up to those passionate expectations.It's the turn of five French couples, interconnected by three Parisian families, escaping the traditional august exodus from the capital, to see how their relationships fair on their annual summer holiday. Right from the opening snazzy credits and quirky French pop tune you know this is not going to be a predictable and serious French relationship, mood drama, but something much more fun and frivolous with a premier French cast to boot.The storyAffluent middle aged couple, Bernard (Jacques Dutronc) and Marianna (Charlotte Rampling) have booked a week in the exclusive Westminster hotel on the South of France for their escape from the bustle of tourist riddled Paris. Bernard's star employee at the family estate agency is Kevin (Sammy Bouajilla) who is secretly screwing the bosses bitchy, unlikeable, but sexy tear away daughter in Emily (Lula Dubois) with the two furtively meeting up together on Emily's Chicago break.At the last minute Bernard decides not to go away with his wife under the excuse of urgent business at home as the couples meet to decide the travel plans. Best friends to Bernard and Marianna are Jerome (Denis Podayudos) and Vera Salois (Kerina Viard) who are also coming to the same resort.Vera is a bit of a jealous snob and has made her husband book a week at the Westminster, way above her embattled husbands salary and current career prospects. He has had to sell the family car to pay for it and hasn't done what his wife has asked him and instead has seriously compromised their social standing as the couple and their cute young son Loic (Gerrald Ullier) pull up at a caravan park in a battered replacement jalopy.On arrival at the resort we meet the third couple in the obsessive hair dresser in Jean Pier and his beautiful lawyer wife in Julie (Claudette Cloran).He cant bare being apart from her and suspicious of every man that even talks to Julie, with hotel romeo in Romaine (Mathieu Bodynae) being this weeks number one suspect. Completing the line up is attractive single mom, Lulu (Carla Banquet), the niece of the Salois family who off-loads her baby on the gleeful Vera who is quickly tiring of caravan life. In return for looking after the kid for the week, Loic goes to stay with the ever calculating Marianna for his coming of age experience with Lulu free to explore the remaining male population.For Bernard, the cats away and the mice will play, be it with his hermaphrodite home help or the younger woman close to them that we assume Marianna doesn't know about. At the hotel its bed hoping galore with Lothario Romaine filling the vacuum and vacant holes, providing the gumption for the frolics and the momentum to the complex relationships as we slowly discover the skeletons in the closet that hold this fragile group of promiscuous friends and family together. The quote;Jean Piere:"It's not easy living with a nymph"Jerome;"You should try living with the opposite".The thinking on it...It's a refreshing change to see a French film on the subjects of love and romance not taking themselves too seriously for once. This is positively swimming with joi de vive and jealousy with the superb super tolerant and soothe saying Charlotte Rampling and her immaculate French at the heart of it. It a story about those scheming women that leach of men and eventually bring them down when their accrued social status is threatened; better not to expose your husbands affair until you are guaranteed the house and the car. This can usually be identified when the husband's hairline has receded more than his salary.This is excellent stuff as the subtitles for once dissolve into an insignificant distraction for once as we are enveloped into the frolics and comedy with some cracking writing in this brisk and talky 90 minutes. OK there's some dodgy dubbing and sizable chunks of continuity missing that appear in the deleted scenes but on the whole this is quality stuff and you stay with the flow. Its also the first DVD I've had where you can rewind and still see the subtitles so you know where to stop when you missed a bit.AdditionalsThere's a directors making off with a different slant on it as he gives you a video diary on his experiences on set and with the actors(very French).Some trailers and film biographies complete the minimal extras to an enjoyable foreign film DVD.
Zillionth French "tranches de vie" comedy gets a bit upgraded through actresses Carole Bouquet and Charlotte Rampling, the only 2 likable characters in the whole flick. The rest of the cast is so obnoxious, self-centered and arrogant you dislike 'em the second they appear on the screen. Especially the oversexed 17-year old daughter, although very pretty, is as they say in French "une emmerdeuse de prémière classe" ( a first-rate pain in......).It may fast-paced and funny in an art-house kindaway but it remains supremely annoying.For some good recent French comedies opt instead of course for 'Amélie', or something with actor Benoit Poelvoorde (Le vélo, Dead weight,Podium)or 'Mission Cleopatre' based on the highly popular french comic books "Asterix".'
Those of us who like French cinema do so because, more often than not, the French display subtlety and skill in creating all sorts of different kinds of movies- light and heavy, political and whimsical. This is not one of them. In fact, other than the rampant, unapologetic sexuality, this could have been an American movie, and though I do like American movies, this is not meant as a complement. If you want a better French movie of this genre, try "The Taste of Others" or "Same Old Song"