Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
Israel/France, 2013. Abott Reif Hameiri, Bananot, Chic Films. Screenplay by Eli Bijaoui, Eytan Fox. Cinematography by Daniel Schneor. Produced by Lauranne Bourrachot, Marco Cherqui. Music by Haim Frank Ilfman. Production Design by Arad Sawat. Film Editing by Ron Omer.
Eytan Fox thoroughly drops the ball with this inept comedy, far behind the musical delights of his excellent Mary Lou and barely recognizable alongside his better dramas like Walk On Water or Yossi. A group of neighbours live in their candy-coloured apartment building and gather one night to watch the UniverSong competition (the film’s version of Eurovision) before one of them reveals that her husband has left her. In their chummy way of comforting her, the friends improvise a song (since one of their members is a musician) that is written and sung on the spot and, thankfully, recorded on someone’s iPhone. When schoolteacher Ofer enters the video into the song contest for the following year, the group find themselves selected to be Israel’s representatives despite the fact that he is the only one actually wants to do it (and despite the fact that the song is cheesy and boring). The singer, the baker, the political aide, the blogger and the legal assistant/former Miss Israel all think it’s crazy, while Ofer’s closeted boyfriend, who is also the head of a giant food company, is nervous about the publicity it will bring them. It isn’t long, however, before they all see the potential in the situation and start rehearsing and costuming the performance that they will do in Paris at the next competition, but will the low-key charm of their simple ditty be any match for the glitter and glam of the showiest pop tunes that this competition tends to bring? What should be a thoroughly enjoyable romp that indulges in all the comedic possibilities of each stage in the process is instead rushed through in 87 unnecessarily short minutes, a ridiculously mundane rendering of a potentially wonderful concept that is shallow in every possible way. The whole thing looks like a cheap internet commercial and wastes the talents of a wonderful cast.