Isabelle Huppert’s name isn’t the first one that comes to mind when discussing French bedroom farces – but that gifted actress hams it up wonderfully in this often vulgar but never dull examination of Gallic morals and mores. Working from a script written expressly for her by director Anne Fontaine, (Coco before Chanel) Huppert’s plays Agathe, a feisty, no-nonsense art dealer with a viperous disposition she employs to tongue-lash her husband Francois, adolescent son Adrien and the toadies who cater to her every whim at her gallery in central Paris.
To her great disgust, Adrien’s best friend Tony was sired by Patrick, a pot-bellied lout whose nonexistent social skills and profane vocabulary are exceeded only by his complete lack of inhibition. When the complacent Francois hires Patrick to do renovation work in the couple’s regal apartment, the stage is set for a mixture of cringingly boorish behavior, belly laughs and the requisite happy ending.
Huppert, turns 60 next year; she sports a career spanning more than 100 film & T.V. roles over the past 4 decades and there isn’t anything she can’t do - or hasn’t done already. With her trim figure & radiant screen confidence, she makes it appear as though this piece of contrived nonsense is more clever than it actually is.
Spoiler Alert-this one contains a high level of language that a generation ago would have caused soap-washed mouths for the cast, so be forewarned.
The Verdict? Coarse fun, enlivened by the always-effervescent Huppert – but overall, pretty thin comedic gruel.
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