Change of Address review

:. Director: Emmanuel Mouret
:. Starring: Emmanuel Mouret, Frédérique Bel
:. Running Time: 1:25
:. Year: 2006
:. Country: France


Trying too hard to be charming and funny while dangerously perched on the peak of awkwardness and failure in effect describes David, the main character of Emmanuel Mouret's Change of Address. It also describes the movie itself; a disappointment on so many levels after what started off as potentially engaging.

Emmanuel Mouret wants to be a Parisian Woody Allen mixed with American slacker whose ultimately infantile gags have been rehashed more than once stateside. And that may be the most unfortunate element of the film: trying to be an American romantic comedy mixed with a dose of kooky American indie spirit and all of the boring blah blah blah that that mix ultimately creates

David, an unemployed French horn player coincidentally meets an attractive blond (Frédérique Bel in a thankless Meg Ryan role) looking for a roommate. As they both pursue relationships with the ideals in their fantasties they occasionally bed each other when desperation and desire meet. Clues that klobber us over the head show that these two are meant to be together. We get it. While American comedies can kill us with the obvious it's more obnoxious when they're French. There's no point in renouncing films where a character snorts milk up his nose or sticks his penis in a pie, but when it's the cosmopolitan French friend we admire it's infinitely more painful.

Frédérique Bel plays ditzy Anne with bubbly enthusiasm, yet we know she's smarter than this script and much smarter than her character. Long and lean, she has none of the Anna Nicole attributes that would make her character seem more plausibly dumbed down. Mouret's bumbling David isn't interesting enough, and when he loses the girl (played with stoic, unnerving silence by Fanny Valette), you almost cheer her on for finally ridding herself of this childish loser.

Ironically (or fortunately) the opening short "Love Thunderbolt" (directed by Vincent Primault and Hedi Tillette de Clermont Tonnerre) basically covered the same subject matter in an infinitely more entertaining way than Mouret's failed attempt. Tant pis, as they say.

  Anji Milanovic

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