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In the 1980 French countryside, farmer Jojo and his ill-tempered wife Lulu hate each other, though their respective interests speak against divorce. The only thing that keeps the oppressed Jojo from murder is the threat of the guillotine... Written by
Un Crime au Paradis tells the story of a fairly dimwitted farmer Jojo, and his nasty and ruthless wife Lulu, who live in complete animosity together on a farm, very ironically named "le Paradis", or "Paradise". They spend their days essentially irritating the other as much as possible, and reciprocating for the misery they've injected into each other's lives. This all comes to a head when Jojo sees on TV a lawyer who is famous for getting crime-of-passion killers acquitted since, as he says "Anyone can kill out of passion or anger".
The process by which Jojo plans the murder of his wife with the un-knowing help of this lawyer in order to get away with it is where this film gets its humour. It really is genuinely funny watching the passionate and devious lawyer get all worked up getting the story of Lulu's murder straight with Jojo, without even realising that the murder hasn't yet been committed. André Dussollier and Jacques Villeret do marvellous work in these two roles, and they back up the over-the-top script with similarly comical performances.
The film is obviously lacking in realism, but the script and the actors never take themselves too seriously; the countless jokes about the unattractiveness of Lulu is testament to this. And while the film is entertaining for the most part, it lags a bit towards the end, suffering from its lack of ingenuity in the basic storyline. It's fairly well executed in order to provide humour, but it's really nothing more than simple French escapism, and the story and pace of the film are nothing to get overly excited about.
That said, I could well recommend this film. Despite the drab setting and similarly drab budget, I'd say this is a very accessible film to a fairly wide audience, and definitely worth a look for a quick laugh. ***1/2 / *****
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