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A triangle: love, obsession, and choice. Pierre, a ladies' man who has little cash and no fixed residence, describes his best friend Benoît as the world's oldest 32-year-old. The shy, well-employed Benoît's life changes when he answers the personal ad of Marie, a 25-year-old who restores paintings. He's attracted to her and she likes his steady calm and his honest attention. They're soon a couple, and they include Pierre in their dinners, outings, and trips. What will happen when Pierre realizes that he too is in love with Marie? Written by
A French adaptation of a Julian Barnes novel, this is a pretty basic and very tedious romantic triangle: when shy loser Yvan Attal hooks up with Charlotte Gainsbourg, his luck changes while his best friend Charles Berling's fortunes suffer reverses as he falls for her and bores passing strangers by telling them his hopes of how to win her. Unfortunately this seems to be by going for the Anakin Skywalker route of whining her into submission, as his tiresome self-pity gradually and inexplicably wins her over.
There are a few nice moments: a wedding photo in which all three reveal their innermost thoughts, one of Berling's captive confessors asking him "Don't you ever get tired of your bulls**t?" and Berling following his comparison of an affair being as unsatisfactory as a holiday in Marbella by his nervous rambling that "Actually, Marbella can be nice at this time of year. I went there once. It's best to go off season." Similarly, his dismissal of Leonard Cohen's genius by admitting he finds a lack of imagination in rhyming 'ay' with 'ay ay ay' neatly punctures Attal's tendency to play Cohen's waltz at every opportunity. Unfortunately they are few and far between, and Berling is astonishingly annoying here. You keep on waiting for someone to hit him, repeatedly (now there's an idea for a movie!), but it never happens. There is one great final confrontation when Attal confronts the two: his performance has real power here and the writing mirrors the ebb and flow and awkwardness of such moments. But it's not enough.
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