Oh, mon Dieu, en­core Tautou

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

12A cert, limited re­lease, 110 min AU­DREY TAUTOU is rapidly evolv­ing into a men­ace of sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tions. Those un­nec­es­sar­ily huge eyes – a gecko sur­prised by its own ab­surdly height­ened French­ness – al­ways seem to be peer­ing at you from the other end of the zinc bar. Some­body, some­where is con­vinced that we still find this crea­ture charm­ing and quirky. She’s a de­cent ac­tor. She al­most never bumps into the scenery. But that hy­per-gamine act is fast be­com­ing very tedious.

Her lat­est project is one of those light ro­mances that too eas­ily gets mis­taken for a com­edy. Based on some book by David Foenk­i­nos – I’m bet­ting it has a hazy cover de­pict­ing a glass of wine rest­ing on a wicker ta­ble – Del­i­cacy finds Ms Tautou play­ing a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­woman pre­ma­turely pro­pelled into wid­ow­hood.

We be­gin with her en­coun­ter­ing the ideal man. If you haven’t seen a film be­fore you may pre­sume that François (Pio Mar­mai) and Nathalie (Tautou) are head­ing into a life­time of hap­pi­ness. Then the poor chap dies in a jog­ging mishap and Nathalie turns to work for com­fort.

It’s never en­tirely clear what she does for a liv­ing, but the com­pany does have a lot of Swedes about the place. Be­fore too long (though long enough, frankly) our hero has in­ex­pli­ca­bly snug­gled up to the most homely of the cir­cling Scan­di­na­vians (Fran­cois Damiens). Her friends dis­ap­prove. But Nathalie grad­u­ally finds her­self re­turn­ing to the real world and se­cur­ing an­other chance at hap­pi­ness.

Di­rected by Mr Foenk­i­nos with the help of his brother, Stephane, the picture has the tight struc­ture and ir­re­sistible mo­men­tum of a self-help book. The ac­tors punch the lines with pan­tomime de­lib­er­a­tion. The di­rec­tor finds ap­pro­pri­ate colours to re­flect the chang­ing moods of his ir­re­press­ible gamine.

In short, Del­i­cacy does pretty much what it prom­ises. This is the type of film that – just to clar­ify we’re watch­ing an un­threat­en­ing French project – fea­tures an im­age of the Eif­fel Tower on its poster.

It won’t scare the chick­ens. It won’t tax the brain. It won’t scratch any tis­sue on its way down your gul­let. It’s an­other Au­drey Tautou film. YOU’VE GOT to feel for Tay­lor Kitsch. The star of John Carter and now Bat­tlesh*t went into 2012 look­ing like the Next Big Thing. By next week he’ll be look­ing for a lift home to Canada. Poor fel­low. All that tri­ceps work for nowt. For those lucky enough to have avoided the trail­ers, posters and gen­eral con­cept, Bat­tle­ship is ev­ery­thing one could ex­pect from a movie that proudly trum­pets its as­so­ci­a­tion with Has­bro. And yes, there re­ally is a se­quence wherein sailors call out E7, E8, etc, etc.

In keep­ing with Has­bro’s pre­vi­ous big-screen out­ings, Bat­tle­ship re­ally, re­ally wants to be Trans­form­ers. Ex­cept it’s not. Trans­form­ers fea­tures some pretty badass ro­bots. Bat­tle­ship fea­tures aliens that – no fool­ing – look ex­actly like Will Fer­rell’s char­ac­ter from Zoolan­der but in Mighty Mor­phin Power Rangers gear. They have awe­some weapons that they can’t seem to re­mem­ber how to work.

Liam Nee­son wisely dis­ap­pears early in the film. Mr Kitsch, Ad­mi­ral Nee­son’s prospec­tive son-in-law and a naval trou­ble­maker, learns hu­mil­ity shortly af­ter his brother cries out: “Who do I call to teach you hu­mil­ity?” Sim­i­larly, a for­mer sol­dier finds the will to fight shortly af­ter he says, “I lost my fight when I lost my legs.”

“My dad al­ways said they’d come,” nods hit-pa­rade princess turned mu­ni­tions-wizard Ri­hanna. You might have said some­thing be­fore Peter Berg went to a whopping two hours-plus run­ning time, missy. Sink­ing ves­sel ahoy.

Au­drey Tautou: ab­surdly height­ened French­ness

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