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Hollywood, je t'aime (2009)

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A gay Parisian shows up in Hollywood at Christmastime, ready for his close-up.

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Title: Hollywood, je t'aime (2009)

Hollywood, je t'aime (2009) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Eric Debets ...
Jérôme Beaunez
...
Ross
Jonathan Blanc ...
Gilles
...
Kaleesha
...
Norma Desire
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Oscar Alvarez ...
Himself
...
Trish
Cesar Arambula ...
Trick from Spotlight Bar
...
Steve Jaspers
Barbie-Q ...
Kaleesha's Girlfriend
...
Commercial Casting Assistant
...
Immigration Officer
...
Grip / Production Assistant
...
Diner
...
Amber Sparks
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Storyline

Recently broken up and barely enduring a dreary winter, gay Parisian Jérôme Beaunez impulsively books a solo Christmas vacation to Los Angeles. While there he meets some colorful locals and pursues a dormant desire to become a movie star - but never can quite put the past behind him. In this meditation on love and narcissism across continents, Jérôme goes far in the sun-drenched City of Angels but ultimately arrives at an old Hollywood maxim: there's no place like home. Written by anonymous

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21 June 2009 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Dark side of Hollywood in entertaining comedy
12 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Hollywood J'taime" is unique in being the only French film I can think of that wasn't made by anyone French. In theme and style it well-emulates a European film, and that's a compliment.

The film is the journey of a man in Paris who has been dumped by his boyfriend and decides to chuck it all and go to Hollywoodland, USA to get over it. This all results in his finding that home is where the heart is--not an earth-shattering revelation, Dorothy Gale, but one that never grows tired or passé--in an ending that is refreshing in its unwillingness to tie up all the loose ends like a dopey sitcom, but is satisfying nonetheless.

What makes the movie so French is that the p.o.v. of the film belongs to vacationing Frenchman Jérôme, played with wonderful understatement and realism by Eric Debets (who does, in fact, bear a remarkable resemblance to Adrian Brody, a running gag). We follow Jérôme from France to LAX and beyond, seeing LA through his eyes, and to see what he sees, and how he sees it, is the primary joy of the movie. Aside from being dead-pan natural, real, and utterly "French" on-screen, Debets doesn't hold back exposing himself both theoretically and quite literally...this is a film with a gay audience in mind and as such knows there's no need to try to be otherwise; most comfortably gay males appreciate male nudity, and don't spend a lot of time sitting around discussing what it means to be gay, the problem with many films in this genre.

The director shows confidence in presenting his story without either going crazy with technique or being hobbled by budgetary limits (the opening credits are delightfully snappy). It looks far more expensive than it probably was to make, but doesn't resort to flashy gimmicks (although some may argue the slightly-beyond-R sexual scenes push that boundary--again, depends on your comfort level). It's easy to watch, the acting is above average, the characters interesting and the script feels complete. It could probably use one more edit to cut just a wee bit of fat around the edges, particularly in the 3rd act when Jérôme looks for a "real" job in a restaurant. Jérôme verges on unsympathetic at times for his bad planning (he seems too old for some of the dumb choices he makes) and the plot suffers occasionally when it resorts to contrivance and coincidence, but it is, after all, a movie. I also found myself wanting to know more background on most of the characters, who seem to appear on cue and disappear as needed. However, things never become insufferable in depicting drag queens with hearts of gold or gorgeous guys throwing themselves at someone just because the script requires it, like many similar films in the same category. And the somewhat-open ending is, again, satisfying and very "true" to what has come before.

What really sets this one apart is its depiction of the "real" Hollywood...this is literally a snapshot of the popular Silver Lake-to-Santa Monica stretch of LA area as it is/was in 2009; one can almost smell the grit on the sidewalks or feel the dry heat. I say that being a resident who recognized every block used as a location. It's one view among many, and not pretty, but it's an accurate one, and should be required viewing for anyone (gay) who is thinking of dropping everything and coming to Hollywood with the idea that it is a "dream factory," something that still happens quite frequently. Similarly, the film is remarkable, being made by Americans, in portraying the US from the perspective of a person from France, and captures the European-out-of-water in LA scenario, which is very common here, quite well (It's too bad Jérôme didn't take the bus to Venice Beach instead, it may have been a whole different movie).

Congratulations to cast and crew on a job well done and kudos well-earned, and a film that goes down like a fine French wine to those interested in the subject matter. I'll definitely be on the lookout for a sequel, and I'm glad we're living in times when movies like this can be made.


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