Saturday, 30 November 2013

Populaire

Like romantic comedies in general, French romantic comedies are rarely awesome movies. But it certainly seems true to me that French romantic comedies tend to be more consistently watchable than their American counterparts. While I have reviewed a couple, there are many more French comedies that I would recommend for a pleasant evening's entertainment for those who can find them and don't mind subtitles. Here's some rating *** with their English titles: The Grocer's Son, Romantics Anonymous, Paris (2008), Heartbreaker, Orchestra Seats, The Girl from Paris, The Women on the 6th Floor, The Valet, Priceless. Of course some of these are not exactly loaded with substance, but they're enjoyable.

A recent film in that category is Populaire. Stylishly mimicking older romantic comedies starring the likes of Audrey Hepburn, this film adds some unique twists to the usual formula. The setting, first of all, is a quirky look at competitive speed typing (which probably never existed the way it looks on-screen but one comes to believe it). Throughout it's well-acted (though perhaps Deborah Francois is trying a little too hard to imitate the styles of former stars).

The film even points toward deeper themes (such as the character shaping events that make the protagonists the quirky types that they are). But this is a glitzy, fun film and perhaps they wanted to avoid the dramedy feel of a film that goes deeper. Perhaps the right move, but I think it could have been a notch better by giving those touches a bit more attention and scaling back a bit on the whole focus on competitive typing (which they clearly had a lot of fun with). Still, somewhat generously, I'll give this one ***+

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