Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5.
France, 2005. Gaumont, Rectangle Productions, Les Films du Dauphin, TF1 Films Production, Palais Productions Ltd., De L’Huile. Screenplay by Brigitte Buc, Valerie Lemercier. Cinematography by James Welland. Produced by Edouard Weil. Music by Bertrand Burgalat. Production Design by Jacques Bufnoir. Costume Design by Catherine Leterrier. Film Editing by Luc Barnier.
Disappointingly anodyne comedy directed, co-written by and starring the fabulous Valerie Lemercier. She plays the wife to the prince of France whose life of relative obscurity and normality is upended when her father-in-law dies, her brother-in-law is made ineligible to the throne because of his being unmarried, and her own husband (Lambert Wilson) is made the ruler of the nation. At first she is a public relations nightmare, embarrassing her family (including a perfectly glacial Catherine Deneuve as her mother-in-law) with her saggy fashion and awkward diplomatic manners. When she discovers that her husband has been having an affair with his best friend’s wife, it kicks her motivation into high gear and she suddenly becomes a French Diana, winning the populace over to her side and turning the crowds against the rest of her family. It sounds like a ripping good idea, and there are a few moments when it comes to fruition (her switching all her husband’s underwear for the same pieces in much smaller sizes is particularly funny), but the tone is sluggish throughout and a lot of sequences are far longer than they need to be. Then there’s the ending, which is a painful cop-out and makes very little sense; such a talented actress as Lemercier would be expected to have far more skill than she shows here.