Review / ‘C’est La Vie’ (M) ***

“C’EST La Vie” is about a professionally managed reception. It’s in the best tradition of French farce, an occasion at which if it is possible for anything to go wrong, then everything will go wrong. We in the audience laugh immoderately. The possibilities are endless.

Written and directed by Olivier Nakache and EricToledano, at the summit of its very large cast is Max (Jean-Pierre Bacri) seriously considering that after Pierre’s wedding tomorrow, he will simply walk away from the up-market wedding business that he has spent three decades building.

Here is the framework for a plot ranging between improbable and unbelievable by way of hilarious and unpredictable.

Putting it together avoids the real risk of it becoming a set of clichés looking for connections to sustain a story in which beginning, middle and end lurch through, over, around and alongside each other.  

Making such confusions work effectively requires clever writing to sustain the freshness necessary to dispel audience boredom. The filmmakers have turned a long-winded speech by the groom into a slow-burning comic passage criss-crossed by sub-plots that turn disasters into rousing successes.

I see more movies in otherwise deserted cinemas than do most filmgoers.  “C’est La Vie” provided a welcome diversion from that practice. It is clever comedy that needed sharing and got it. I was grateful.

At Palace Electric


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