|Index||5 reviews in total|
There has been no shortage of Oedipal offspring hellbent on disrupting
their parents' lives in comedies of all nationalities. Dutch director
Alex van Warmerdam probably handled this tricky subject matter best in
his 1986 landmark farce ABEL, pulling double duty by also playing the
titular thirty-pushing tyke whose refusal to vacate the homestead
wreaks all sorts of increasingly surreal havoc. A huge success in the
Netherlands, it firmly established the young filmmaker's reputation
through festival screenings around the world, begetting the remarkably
similar if decidedly more benign French film TANGUY (2001, Etienne
Chatiliez) as a direct result.
Continuing the trend, as well as an intriguing directorial career that has yet to shift into high gear, is Continental art-house cinema actress Julie Delpy with what is already her sixth full length feature, also just the second of these (after her exercise in "fantastique", THE COUNTESS) not to register as a total blab-fest. Don't get me wrong, LOLO (which bears a strong if unacknowledged resemblance to the Duplass Brothers' CYRUS from a few years prior) still has characters yakking it up at regular intervals but these streams of (often scintillating) dialogue usually propel the plot forward at almost breakneck speed, making for a most enjoyable hour and a half. What surprised me most, which may qualify as a leftover from Delpy's recent dabbling in horror cinema, was just how far into darkness the director seemed prepared to take her subject matter in its final stages.
Taking a richly deserved spa holiday in scenic Biarritz with foul-mouthed best friend Ariane (the indomitable Karin Viard in fine form) in tow, forty-something fashion editor Violette (Delpy) finds herself falling unexpectedly in love with local kind-hearted divorced IT specialist Jean-René (Dany Boon) who's already planning to relocate to Paris. Although at the top of his profession, Jean still registers as the French equivalent of a redneck to Paris natives and Violette frets about whether he'll fit in with her image-obsessed crowd.
What she doesn't realize is that the greatest threat to their newfound happiness lies closer to or more accurately inside the home : her 19-year old son Eloi, affectionately known as Lolo, an endearment he definitely doesn't deserve. Portrayed by fresh French heartthrob Vincent Lacoste who became an instant star thanks to Riad Sattouf's 2009 surprise smash LES BEAUX GOSSES (a/k/a THE FRENCH KISSERS), it's easy to see how this charming viper has managed to pull the wool over his mother's eyes for so long, but once there's a man moving in on his territory (a trend that's belatedly revealed as having started with his proper dad) the fangs come out. The pestering starts out innocently enough, the brat pouring itching powder on Jean's clothes (leading to a ridiculously thorough medical exam when Violette suspects he might have what was once euphemistically called a social disease), but soon increases to epic proportions.
This kind of character-based comedy can fall flat on its face without the right actors to carry it. Fortunately, the casting is practically flawless down to the smallest parts, such as the priceless Nicolas Wanczycki (from TV's THE RETURNED) as an unintentionally droll doctor in the hospital emergency room. Delpy can do neurotic as well as Diane Keaton, minus the mannerisms which sometimes mar the latter's artistic achievements, though another director could have conceivably prevented her from the occasional spot of overacting. Audience favorite Dany Boon (who broke all local box office records with BIENVENUE CHEZ LES CH'TIS) might seem like an odd choice to pair up with the highbrow Delpy but his work in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's underrated MICMACS A TIRE-LARIGOT already showed the actor was capable of far more subtlety than his endless string of rowdy crowd-pleasers suggested. His casting actually proves a shrewd move on Delpy's part, an insidious tactic to draw in the punters who usually stay away in droves from her movies.
Visually way more refined than your average point and shoot French farce, courtesy of the venerable Thierry Arbogast (who photographed most of Luc Besson's stuff), LOLO further ups the ante with an eclectic series of soundtrack selections. These range from Andy Williams's irresistible toe-tapper Music to Watch Girls Go By (playing over terrific animated opening credits) to Max Steiner's syrupy Theme from A Summer Place and Etta James belting out Plum Nuts over the end scroll.
Greetings again from the darkness. The old saying "opposites attract"
is on full display in director and co-writer Julie Delpy's latest, as
she offers up a twist on the French farce by adding a dark
undercurrent. Additionally, the film addresses the personal and
societal challenges facing women in their 40's who are successful in
their career, and who also hold out hope for finding true love.
Ms. Delpy also stars as Violette, a germaphobe divorcée who works in the fashion industry in Paris. The film opens as Violette and her best friend Ariane (Karen Viard) are deep into girl-chat while hanging out at a spa each annoyed that they are without a soul mate that would complete their lives (or at least fill the sexual void).
After dumping a freshly caught tuna in Violette's lap (as they meet for the first time), and then informing her that he understands she's not his type you know, since she is a lesbian (which she is not) Jean-Rene (Dany Boon) re-groups and begins charming her with his grounded and simple nature. These two form a cute, but odd couple of opposites and seem to very much enjoy each other's company.
Things start to get confusing for the couple when her 19 year old son Lolo (Vincent Lacoste) begins his (initially) subtle clandestine activities designed to break up the couple. Soon enough we realize this wannabe artist goes well beyond typical passive-aggressive activities, and straight into full-on psychotic mode with Oedipal tendencies. His psychological warfare against Jean-Rene slowly builds from childish antics, to deceitful and devilish scheming, to downright criminal all with a sense of black comedy for us viewers (can't say the same for Jean-Rene).
Other movies such as "Cyrus" and "We Need to Talk about Kevin" have dealt with the mother-son relationships ranging from creepy to dangerous, but Delpy's movie always hits us with a dose of laughter when it's needed. The use of the movie classic "Village of the Damned" (1960) is especially spot on as Violette and Jean-Rene continue to plug away as a couple even when it's obvious to us that 3 is too many for a healthy relationship especially when one could be a reincarnation of Damien from "The Omen". The perfect ending reminds us that no one beats the French when it comes to a farce; even when the darkness is sprinkled on a bit heavier than usual.
I've seen Lolo before. A young man raised by a single mother does not
like it when eligible suitors comes sniffing around his MILF. So when a
IT tech becomes his mother's love interest, Lolo stops at nothing to
break these two apart.
The french version of this story starts out as just a young man talking crap to convince his mom that this man is not right for her. Then it escalates to the extreme when Lolo makes The IT tech his victim. That's were the comedy comes it as well.
It's not different from an American comedy in how it escalates, except that the this french film realizes it does not need to got too over the top with the comedy to be laugh out loud funny.
If you ever seen such movie as Cyrus or Mr. Woodcock than you'll like this movie. It's the same style of comedy.
One exception is the focus on the perspective of Julie Delpy's character, Violette, a 40 year old woman who still in the dating game looking for love. I seen the movie done from Lolo's perspective as the selfish son who will do anything to keep the cord attached to his mother, and I've seen it from Jean-René's perceptive as a man dating a woman too good to be true, and then discovers she got some baggage she loves too much too see as baggage. Violette's view does bring some freshness to the movie.
It was a subtle comedy, at least by American standards, but it is very effective.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I admit it: I am a Julie Delpy fan. I think she's a genius. This movie
The movie begins with a Julie-Delpy-like barrage of witty talk. (Much like Woody Allen.) Throw in a tuna fish, and you've got a good introduction to what's coming.
Throughout the movie she throws in little mini-jokes: some verbal, some visual. If you blink, you missed one. For me, they're the best part of the movie. And for me, this is where she shows her genius: it's relatively easy to come up with some extended routine--lots of movie do that. But to see the latent humor in an everyday action and to make you laugh with a word, a gesture, or an expression, that's amazing and rare.
I'm not sure that we need to look for involved psychological analysis here. There may be an opinion about the younger generation, or children, but that's not what this is about. It's about love, and how to find and keep it. And along the way, yes, it's extreme. If it weren't, it would be boring. This is anything but boring.
And unlike many movies lately, it has an ending. Extra points for that.
I'm a Julie Delpy fan, "Two days in Paris" is one of my favourite
movies of all times. This film, however, is impossible to watch.
It's incredibly predictable, the humour is silly and you've seen all the gags in plenty of (bad) films before.
The storyline is not credible at all. Even if you're not looking for sophisticated humour, just want some slapstick laughs, this film is simply not very funny. I watched it in the dubbed version, maybe it's slightly better in the French original, although to be honest, I don't think so, given how bad the storyline and the jokes are.
The acting is OK, but it can't save the film.
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