movie film review | chris tookey

French Film

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  French Film Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
Average Rating
4.60 /10
Hugh Bonneville, Eric Cantona, Jean Dell
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Directed by: Jackie Oudney
Written by: Aschlin Ditta

Released: 2008
Origin: UK
Length: 88

Frightfully English.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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This amiable but underpowered romcom resembles an attempt to transplant a seventies Woody Allen film to modern North London. Hugh Bonneville plays Jed, a lazy, middle-aged journalist and failed novelist with an interest in movies and a thickening waistline – less sniggering at the back there, please. His ten year relationship with a spiky magazine editor (Victoria Hamilton, who looks and acts like a younger Zoe Wanamaker) is grinding to a recriminatory halt. Jed’s Scottish best mate (Douglas Henshall), an adman who’s also a failed novelist – North London must be seething with them - is thinking about ditching his nice girl-friend Sophie (Anne-Marie Duff), who saved him from committing suicide two years back and cooks him Nigel Slater recipes which he doesn’t appreciate.

The less than riveting question is: will poor old Jed ever pluck up the courage to tell saucy Sophie he loves her? And if so, will she love him back?

In order to pad out the meagre running time of 87 minutes, a pretentious French film director (Eric Cantona) offers Jed advice on romantic love, both from a DVD and an interview with our diffident hero at the BFI, on the South Bank, thus performing much the same dramatic function that Humphrey Bogart did in Allen’s Play It Again Sam.

The movie is about the gap between the “French” notion of romantic love and the more British notion of muddling through, and making the best of a not too bad job. Director Jackie Oudney does a workmanlike job, but a magic touch would have been needed to transform this into a charming urban fairytale. Aschlin Ditta’s second film script is less messy than his first, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, but it’s light on laughs, low on passion.

The actors give their all, but there’s not enough here that’s fresh. French Film is plodding and predictable - frightfully English, and not in a good way.

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