Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Populaire Review

I went to see this with my friend. She adored it. I didn't. I therefore endured playful mockery about how as a film critic I couldn't simply enjoy a film that wasn't trying to be anything except entertaining and a fun way to pass 90mins. I assuredly can. I flippin' love 'Notting Hill'. I even love 'Wimbledon', with all its English stereotyping and London porn. I liked 'Heartbreakers', the French Rom-Com starring Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis. Rom-Coms are great. What would we do without them? 'Populaire' however, was just boring. It was a shame, I really expected to like it. 

‘Mad Men’ apparently meets ‘The Artist’ in this rather irritatingly fluffy retro Rom-Com. 

Leading lady Déborah François plays cutesy, ditzy country bumpkin Rose, who has dreams of becoming a secretary. During an interview with handsome businessman Louis she is almost turned away, until she sets her fingers on a typewriter lying on the desk and blows him away with her typing talent. He has an agenda. He is going to enter her into the national typing championships, and as part of the deal she is going to live with him and he will train her. This suggestion in itself seemed rather strange and old fashioned, as Rose plays at being a sort of live-in wife. Cue montages of Lisa jogging, falling asleep at the type writer, and so on. It’s all fine to have a fun, entertaining romance tale that intends to stay light and inoffensive, but this has the substance of candyfloss. Part of the problem is that the lead characters appear to be crafted out of wood. Romain Duris’ character is a clichéd 1950s sexist stereotype, and there are office innuendos aplenty. There is nothing distinctive about Rose. At one point she whimsically says “I’m too weird for anybody to love” when she couldn’t be further from the truth. Equally, the humour is off kilter, on numerous occasions there are theatrically swooning women cramming around Louis' office, a joke which repeatedly falls flat. The story itself also set issues from the start, as a typing contest seems an odd choice in an era where most of the population have their fingers permanently gelled to a keypad. The concept was never exciting enough to carry through a feature length film, and the result is as repetitive as the monotonous task of typing itself. A predictable, disappointing and forgettable experience.  


1 comment:

  1. I am the easily entertained friend. Whilst the plot made very little progress, I liked this movie primarily because of the generous helping of 50's and 60's style, two decades whose shapes and prints have me drooling. Sarah's passion is film. Mine is style, and I blog about it. So this film should have been a dream combo for us, but whilst it kept me rapt, unfortunately, it did not amuse Miss Holland.