Farce doesn't come any more labored than this 2002 French comedy that's only now seeing a limited stateside release. Directed by Jean-Morie Poire, the filmmaker behind the hugely popular time-travel comedy LES VISITEURS (1993) and its considerably less amusing Hollywood remake, JUST VISITING (2001), the film plods along in slow motion when the action should be zippy and fun. The plot is textbook farce: After years of being a faithful husband, Georges Audefey (Philippe Chevallier) decides to take the plunge and cheat on his shrill wife, Marion (Virginie Lemoine). Under the guise of a business trip, he flies off to Venice with the lovely Emmanuelle (Alice Evans), but before they can consummate their affair, Georges discovers that his "mistress" is less interested in him than in his money. So he ditches Emmanuelle at the first opportunity and flies back to Paris, where he receives a frosty reception from a suspicious Marion. To further complicate matters, Emmanuelle calls to warn him that she's also back in town and is coming over to tell his wife everything. While Georges is on the phone, Marion storms out of the apartment just as kindly charity solicitor Maurice Lappin (Regis Laspales) rings the doorbell. Maurice connives his way into the flat, but once he hears his intended target's story, he quickly changes from cajoler to counselor. As he lectures Georges about the feminine mystique, the increasingly distraught would-be adulterer hits upon a far-fetched plan: Maurice will don women's clothing and pretend to be Marion. Thus, when Emmanuelle comes over, she'll confess their affair to the wrong person. Because this is pure farce, Emmanuelle isn't the only person to visit the apartment that day. Georges and Maurice also wind up having to put on their act for a married couple that's interested in buying the place for Emmanuelle's jealous husband, Johnny (Gotz Otto), a six-foot-plus ex-commando. Once all of the pieces fall into place, the movie yields a few chuckles, but getting there takes far too long. A good farce will race through the exposition as quickly as possible; move too slowly and the audience has too much time to realize how illogical the whole premise is. Here Maurice doesn't appear in a dress until halfway through the movie, by which point most viewers will likely have tuned out. It doesn't help that the cast is populated by unfunny actors, with the possible exception of Evans, who is an appealing presence if not necessarily a great comedienne. If you're in the mood for a cross-dressing farce, stick with LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (1978).
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: PG
- Review: Farce doesn't come any more labored than this 2002 French comedy that's only now seeing a limited stateside release. Directed by Jean-Morie Poire, the filmmaker behind the hugely popular time-travel comedy LES VISITEURS (1993) and its considerably less amu… (more)