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This film is hilarious--I saw it just today in Germany (in French with
German subtitles). The first part goes into broad comedy, with the parents
scheming to find ways to get their son to leave the nest. This film is just
as much about the parents--even more--than the son.
i noticed that someone else commented about the Asian aspects of the film. At first, it really doesn't make sense, except to show Tanguy's fascination with the country, and almost as a goal (for the parents)--have him go to Peking as soon as possible. By the end, it's wonderful because there is a subtle comparison (that the audience must make) about the family situation. That is--the Chinese filial responsibility, love, and respect--and yes, there were three generations living under one roof. And in the Guetz household--all three generations have, at one point or another, lived under the same roof. That's just one way of looking at it. If you see it and go in with that idea of comparing cultural aspects of families, then maybe that would make better sense.
Tanguy Guetz is the single child of boomer parents (represented in a way
different from the buttoned-down standard model of US movies, but probably
whole lot closer to the American boomers who'll actually see the movie).
28, Tanguy is staying home with his parents, and intends to go on staying
home for a year or two, because he's extremely comfortable there, never
to pick up anything or handle any bills, and lives with the two people he
loves most. The feeling of comfort is definitely not mutual.
But, as his parents mobilize for a get-out-of-here campaign, they meet the perfect stonewall. Tanguy is a major specialist of traditional Chinese thought, and he faces everything with an equanimity that a hundred-year-old sage would envy. The one-sided war escalates to the point where Tanguy sues his parents for bed and board, and wins. Eventually, he does fly off for a long stay in Beijing, and then, of course, the parents discover what it means to be the sandwich generation: Tanguy's grandmother breaks a hip.
The blows are softened by the fact that the Guetz are quite well off. Else the movie would cut too close to the bone to be the uproarious farce that it is. The main actors, Eric Berger (Tanguy) and Sabine Azéma (his mother) play their characters with contagious fun.
I did not find the story unrealistic as other users have commented.
I know quite a few guys and girls -of different nationalities- that live
have lived with their parents not because they could not afford to live
their own but also because it is... convenient.
It is not difficult to understand why someone would still prefer to live with his parents under these circumstances - he lives as he would in an expensive and comfortable hotel (minus the bill!). Everything is taken care of by somebody else (cleaning up after him in the bathroom, laundry & ironing, bills, shopping, preparing dinner etc), he does not have to buy a car since he can use his parents' cars, he does not have to spend his money on everyday's life necessities and he can concentrate without a single worry in his mind on whatever pleases him (e.g. being an eternal student and having a different girl every night in his bed). In a few words : he's just spoiled. You can see when he tries to live on his own that he does not even make an effort, and immediately pre-judges that he could not possibly make it on his own. He does not want to live on his own and lose all the comforts he currently enjoys.
Plausibility of the story apart, I've seen the movie three times and each time I found it equally laugh-out-loud funny - a very successful combination of well-written dialogues and very good performances by the three lead actors (especially Sabine Azema and Andre Dussolier who are playing the two parents).
Since I didn't enjoy "La vie est un long fleuve tranquille", I didn't expect too much from "Tanguy" when I went to the cinema. Surprisingly enough, the movie was good. I mean really good. Monsieur Chatiliez, the director of "La vie..." and "Tanguy", shows that french comedies can actually be a thousand times better than some modern American comedies. Because Tanguy has it all: this movie has a soul, charming and believable actors, a good script and well thought gags. The movie tells the story of Tanguy, a 28-year old guy who still lives with his parents. One day, his mother Edith can't take this situation any longer, and together with her husband she tries to get Tanguy out their home. It's easy to see that this storyline is a good basis for some great gags and funny situations; and the movie eventually succeeds. I left the cinema with satisfaction, because I saw one of the few intelligent - and most importantly funny - modern comedies. I recommend this gem to anyone who's tired of stupid and underwhelming American comedy-flicks like "Dumb and Dumber".
Etienne Chatiliez chose to broach a (rather dramatic) social phenomenon on a
comedy tone: young adults who stay more and more longer with their parents.
But his movie is far from the reality: these adults stay with their parents
because they've got either financial problems, either psychological
problems. But Tanguy doesn't suffer from both of these inconvenients, he
comes from a quite wealthy family (his father is an architect and his mother
a set designer. So, the movie articulates around a convenient but unlikely
This doesn't stop Chatiliez from having made a lively movie, often funny, filled with numerous details that kick the bull's eye and powerful cues. In a way, his fourth movie (in thirteen years!) ranks in the tradition of his first film. You find a caustic and often cutting humor, some disagreeable situations for certain characters (and particularly his parents) and the destruction of a peaceful universe. All in all, Tanguy's parents wanted to make Tanguy's life impossible but they'll fall into their own trap.
The movie also enjoys a performance globally equal to the situation. Eric Berger, both nice and naive behind his student's glasses but also unaware of the problems he makes his parents endure. André Dussollier, entertaining in his role of exasperated and shattered father. However, Sabine Azéma hams it up a bit too often and his bombastic role fits badly to the screen.
At the end, Chatiliez showed talent, intuition and perspicacity to make an honorable success. You can just also regret that Tanguy's description lacks of vivacity and temperament. Maybe the fact of being (too much) keen on Chinese philosophy destroys anger or rebellion.
'Tanguy' is a nice French comedy, although it does not start that
funny. It tells about a 28-year old guy named Tanguy (Eric Berger) who
still lives with his parents. At first everything seems normal, but we
slowly learn that especially his mother Edith (Sabine Azéma) wants him
out of there. His father Paul (André Dussloier) basically wants the
same thing, but at any cost. Tanguy himself has not a clue. Here the
movie becomes funnier. The parents decide to make their house a
terrible place for Tanguy; he must get annoyed of the place. Things do
not work out as planned and slowly Paul becomes more and more upset
with his son, especially after Tanguy has tried living on his own for a
couple of days.
The story becomes darker and therefore funnier. Tanguy seems a lovable person at first but slowly we come to understand the parents. His mother is truly a nice person, but too nice when Tanguy is around. Instead of being honest with him she constantly makes sure Tanguy does not want to move away. When the father starts losing it the best parts of 'Tanguy' arrive. It is too bad that the movie is already playing for an hour and a half; this is where conclusions should have been made.
Another complaint I have is the save turn the movie takes near the end. Since both parents really started hating their son, certain other events help you understand why, you wish the screenplay kept following that path. The happy ending could have been the parents being really happy, butt the turn here is even saver. Not that it's really a big deal, I enjoyed everything that leads up to the ending. Not great, but certainly entertaining.
Tanguy made me laugh even though my understanding of French is far from
perfect. The plot is simple - life in his parents Paris apartment is so
pleasant Tanguy a post grad student is still there at 28 years old but his
parents secretly want him out!
Sabine Azema (Tanguys mother) was so funny that she really made the film for me. Don't miss it if you like to laugh!
Etienne Chatiliez made three excellent films about families thrown into
turmoil by the arrival of outsiders: Life is a Long Quiet River, Tatie
Danielle and Happiness Is in the Field. In each of these, the idea was
worked out beautifully until the end; the director was fully in
possession of his talent. Alas, Tanguy just isn't in this class.
It starts off well; we are set up with the domestic discontent of a middle-aged couple whose son can't quite get on the career track. The endless dissertation, the plan to move to Beijing that doesn't firm up: we know all these quirks. After Tanguy's first trip to the hospital (Dad smacks him with a tennis ball) Chatiliez seems to go on auto-pilot for the rest of the picture. It's as if there wasn't enough inspiration to carry him through to the end. Sabine Azema and Andre Dussolier are superb as the parents; Azema has this wonderful attack of gas whenever she's flustered by her son, and that's many times. My rating is a compromise; 9 for the first hour, 3 for the rest.
Enjoyable French comedy with funny scenario and inspiring cast. In a way, it reminds me Danny De Vito's "The war of the roses": how a simple idea (there, a case of divorce; here, dad and mom wanting to get rid of his 28 year old son) can be handled with such a black sense of humor, mixing fun and fierce satire at the same time. Unfortunately (and without giving much away), "Tanguy" resents a little from his length and refuses to go further on his almost surreal developed premise taking a kind and conformist turn in the end. Nevertheless, it's much more than entertainment: you'll be amused and will think about its subject after leaving the cinema.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's not the best comedy out there (or second-best), but it makes fun
of a serious theme, has a lot of good (some very good) jokes, nice
actors and good timing - time flies by with Tanguy, no scene is longer
than necessary. What I liked most is that it's trying to play against
expectations. Yes, he's living with his parents, but he's no loner or
nerd; in fact he's hanging around with a new chérie every week (and
brings them home, of course). He's an intelligent and confident man,
but he loves his parents and enjoys living at hotel Mama. (This made
the scene where he's suing his parents a bit unbelievable).
The end seems forced but seemingly, faced with a stubborn nemesis like Tanguy, even the scriptwriters had to revert to miracles!
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