Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. France, 2013. Process Media, Love Punch, Radar Films, SND Films. Screenplay by Joel Hopkins. Cinematography by Jerome Almeras. Produced by Jean-Charles Levy, Clement Miserez, Tim Perell, Nicola Usborne. Music by Jean-Michel Bernard. Production Design by Patrick Durand. Costume Design by Patricia Colin. Film Editing by Susan Littenberg. Toronto International Film Festival 2013.
A delight from start to finish, this refreshing throwback to classic comedies of remarriage isn’t as smart as Preston Sturges but is definitely as fun. Emma Thompson, at the zenith of her fresh and funny appeal, and Pierce Brosnan, taking a wonderful jab at his own action man image, play a bitterly divorced couple who are reunited by a very unromantic concern: a multinational has bought Brosnan’s company and sunk all of its assets, depriving hundreds of employees of their pensions and rendering this parted couple completely broke. Their attempt to meet the financial tycoon responsible for this mess (Laurent Lafitte) and explain why he needs to give them back their future doesn’t go very well, so they come up with an even more ridiculous scheme to restore their lives: Lafitte is getting married to a gorgeous young gold digger (a delightful Louise Bourgoin) and has just purchased his future wife a ten million-dollar diamond, so they head down to the Cote D’Azur with the intention of stealing it and using it repay everyone destroyed by the takeover. What should be a simple swap turns into a complicated caper that involves their two best friends (Celia Imrie, Timothy Spall having a whale of a time), car chases and even a few cowboy hats and wigs. It bounces along, silly as humanly possible, without ever getting shrill and remaining colourful and lively, with a superb cast of actors who are all endlessly watchable. The gorgeous scenery of the French Riviera and clever dialogue well override the plot holes (a lot of convenient occurrences defy logic) and ease the occasional discomfort of the murky line it rides uncomfortably between comedy and farce (those plot holes are part of a fantasy movie, but we’re also really encouraged to care about everyone’s feelings). A great time.