Mic­mac bric-a-brac

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

JEAN-PIERRE Je­unet’s films di­vide pun­ters. For ev­ery en­thu­si­as­tic Amélie fan there is a viewer who finds the movie a lit­tle too ea­ger to please. Mic­macs isn’t likely to change any­body’s mind ei­ther way. Af­ter the rel­a­tively straight-up A Very Long En­gage­ment, the di­rec­tor is back to crazed an­tique quirks for this slightly un­cer­tain com­bi­na­tion of broad hu­mour and po­lit­i­cal satire.

The ami­able, fa­cially flex­i­ble Dany Boon plays a video store em­ployee whose life gets weirdly al­tered when a stray bul­let lodges in his brain. Later, through a se­ries of con­ve­nient mishaps, he be­comes part of a gang of ec­centrics who, for rea­sons too com­plex to list, make it their busi­ness to em­bar­rass the sin­is­ter mu­ni­tions con­glom­er­ate that man­u­fac­tured Dany’s bul­let.

The firm’s ex­ec­u­tives in­habit a world that looks some­what like our own. They have com­put­ers, drive flash cars and re­cline on gor­geously sleek min­i­mal­ist fur­ni­ture. Mean­while the gang be­have like char­ac­ters in an un­hinged chil­dren’s story from the in­ter-war years.

Yolande Moreau, fresh from her tri­umph in Séraphine, has too lit­tle to do as the ap­ple-cheeked ma­ter­nal fig­ure. Je­unet reg­u­lar Do­minique Pi­non turns up as an en­thu­si­as­tic hu­man can­non­ball. Noth­ing they eat, wear or sit upon looks as if it has ever been on nod­ding terms with the 21st cen­tury.

As ever, Je­unet, shoot­ing with his cus­tom­ary short lenses, man­ages to spread in­ven­tion and en­ter­tain­ing may­hem all about the screen. The di­rec­tor has al­ways had some­thing of the car­ni­val show­man about him, and the ex­hibits re­main as di­vert­ing as ever.

That said, there is no get­ting away from the fact that Mic­macs – par­tic­u­larly in its fussy mid­dle act – is fa­tally short on story and overly re­luc­tant to clar­ify why the gang are be­hav­ing as they do. By the time the in­con­gru­ously preachy fi­nale creaks into the frame, many view­ers will have found their minds drift­ing to­wards the exit. In­ge­nious stuff, none­the­less.

A semi-bar­rel of laughs: Do­minique Pi­non in Mic­macs

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