Cockles And Muscles

Cockles And Muscles


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

When the French go on holiday all sorts of mischief takes place, or, at least, that's what it looks like from a cinema seat.

This latest seaside sex romp is even more ridiculous than the traditional bikini popping, sand dune hopping, testosterone pumping, soft core rumpyfest, because the combinations of gay/straight activity reach farcical proportions.

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Dad and Mum, otherwise known as Marc (Gilbert Melki) and Beatrix (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), appear to be having an unexpectedly active sex life after 17 years of marriage. Marc obsesses about the suspicion that their teenage son Charly (Romain Torres) is a woofter - he's certainly pretty, but talks about girls all the time, when not masturbating in the shower.

Charly's friend Martin (Edouard Collin), on the other hand, is unquestionably limp-of-wrist, although his style is more suggestive, flirtatious and macho. He tries to get it on with Charly and when that fails checks out a friendly plumber, who used to "know" Marc when they were students - eh?

Beatrix is the most baffling and comes across as a stupid, insensitive, spoilt woman, who is neither a bitch, nor a vixen. She's all smiles and charm, as if life's sharp edges have never drawn blood, and when her small, camp, skinny, bald lover pops up from behind a potted plant, wearing nothing but a flat cap and carrying a mobile phone, she services him instantly, with a cheesy grin on her face.

The film is oversexed and, like too much self-abuse, this affects its ability to see straight (no pun intended). Occasionally Beatrix and Marc burst into song and you want to give them a good slap. Beatrix's smug attitude to love, marriage, teenagers and her body, as if the sun always shines on her side of the bed, cries out for the naughty police - and Bruni-Tedeschi is a beautiful woman - to issue a restraining order.

By the end the permutations between gays and heteros (thank God there are no animals) have become absurd. The lasting memory of this very Gallic comedy is of Charly's baffled eyes looking out onto a world gone wild for willy. Is he thinking, "Either my family is nuts, or morality died with religion, or sex is a Class A drug"?

Of course not. Martin told him, "You're too cute to be straight," and he's actively looking for a girl to prove that he's normal - i.e. not just a wanker.

Reviewed on: 01 Mar 2006
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Seaside family sex romp with gay/straight permutations.
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Read more Cockles And Muscles reviews:

Jennie Kermode ***1/2

Director: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau

Writer: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau

Starring: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Gilbert Melki, Jean-Marc Barr, Jacques Bonnaffe, Edouard Collin, Romain Torres, Sabrina Seyvecou

Year: 2005

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France


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