Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Please, please me!

Having seen, and enjoyed, Emmanuel Mouret's unconventional Shall We Kiss? last year, with its gauche protagonists bumbling through their slow paced affair. I was keen to see what this actor / writer / director had come up with this time. His innocent and slightly bewildered face makes him an unusual (and non-threatening) actor to play a romantic protagonist. This allows him to address issues that would usually be off limits to more macho male characters.

Please, please me! (Trailer) opens with Jean-Jacques (Emmanuel Mouret) eager for some Saturday morning sex after a busy, sexless week, while his beautiful blonde girlfriend (Frédérique Bel) wants to sleep longer. His clumsy attempts to alternately keep his hands off her and seduce her become increasingly slapstick before morphing into a philosophical discussion on why their relationship is doomed (because lack of sex makes him desperate ... which turns her off). This seguing from one style of comedy to another as we follow Jean-Jacques through 24 hours of what are essentially a sequence of comic (and improbable) encounters with various beautiful women is what this film is about. Along the way there is a tribute to Get Smart with a series of small lifts, secret doors and tunnels, and a Carry On-like scene when he finds himself in a small flat with 4 nightie clad sisters. I may have missed something but there didn't seem much to hold it all together except the gauche and diffident Jean-Jacques.

Of the female co-stars the most memorable is the enigmatic Aneth (Déborah François) - zip expert and maid to the French President's daughter, who says more with her eyes than her mouth.

I have described this film to friends as "Mr Bean does a romantic comedy". But that is harsh comparison as Emmanuel Mouret's character is not as mean as Mr Bean and is more passive than stupid, and there is much more variety in the comedy than in a Rowan Atkinson film. But if you are faced with "Please, please me!" and "Shall We Kiss?" when choosing a DVD to rent, pick the latter.

Ian's rating 2.5/5 Anne's rating 3/5

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