Con­text-free crim­i­nal

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film Reviews -

Up for Love make Du­jardin ap­pear so small are vir­tu­ally flaw­less. But just imag­ine if a gen­uinely heightchal­lenged ac­tor had played the role; would the com­edy have worked then?

As it hap­pens, the film, writ­ten and di­rected by Lau­rent Ti­rard, is a slav­ish re­make of a suc­cess­ful Ar­gen­tine com­edy of 2013, Co­ra­zon de Leon ( Lion Heart), di­rected by Mar­cos Carnevale; in that film, too, a pop­u­lar lo­cal ac­tor of “nor­mal” height, Guillermo Fran­cella, por­trayed the lead­ing role; Hol­ly­wood is not alone in the business of re­makes.

Up for Love (the French ti­tle roughly trans­lates as “A Man of Stature”) is ami­able and some­times fun. The two leads are good, though some of the mi­nor char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing the role of Diane’s sec­re­tary, played by Stephanie Pa­pa­nian, are over­drawn.

Struc­turally, it’s strictly for­mu­laic: the lead­ing char­ac­ters meet, fall in love, then face prob­lems they even­tu­ally over­come, and run­ning gags, such as Alexan­dre be­ing con­stantly knocked over by a large dog, are strained. And the nag­ging feel­ing re­mains that for a film that ap­pears to po­si­tion it­self as a comedic as­sault on po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, it pulls too many punches. Dancer is a doc­u­men­tary study of Ukrainian bal­let dancer Sergei Pol­unin who, at 19, be­came the youngest prin­ci­pal dancer in the his­tory of Bri­tain’s Royal Bal­let.

Draw­ing heav­ily on the home movies that Pol­unin’s fam­ily started mak­ing when he was young, Steven Can­tor’s film is a de­tailed por­trait of an enor­mously tal­ented artist who seems to have been un­able to cope with fame and the sep­a­ra­tion from his fam­ily. The dance scenes are spec­tac­u­lar.

Jean Du­jardin and Vir­ginie Efira in

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