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Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Perspective is everything in François Pirot's funny and endearing directorial debut - from the point of view of the audience, which he frequently skews, to the mindset of his two protagonists.

Simon (Arthur Dupont) and Julien (Guillaume Gouix) are twentysomething going on 18 and both still living at home. Julien has never left because his widower dad (Jean-Luc Bonnaire) has been ill - and still seems to be struggling to cope - while Simon finds himself back in the stifling middle-class bosom of his parents (Claudine Pelletier and Jackie Berroyer) after splitting up with his girlfriend (Anne-Pascale Clairembourg).

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Simon, blissfully unaware that what he considers an escape to freedom is nothing more than running away, convinces Julien that they should buy the mobile home of the title and head off in search of adventure. Hitting the road, however, proves difficult after a spot of literal running away from Simon's folks leaves their mobile home distinctly immobile, meaning they have to take a piecework job locally to get it back on the road.

This may sound like Judd Apatow territory but the comedy here is gently Gallic and far less forced. Simon and Julien are coming at life from different perspectives, the former so swaddled in childhood that he barely wants to break free while the latter has reversed roles with his father to such an extent, he has a hard time articulating his own desires. Pirot emphasises the daftness of Simon through his dreams of becoming a rock star - he does have a good singing voice but his motivation seems to begin and end with a bit of late-night strumming and an unspoken belief that as soon as the camper van is back on the road, everything will change.

Julien is a more complex character, with his burgeoning relationship with a single mum where he works and his frustration-tinged concern for his father both touchingly convincing. Pirot has a good eye for a sight gag and knows when to make sure we're focusing on a reaction shot rather than the speaker so that the visual punchlines pay off throughout, even if the plot is on the slender side.

The performances bouy up the narrative, however, with Gouix and Dupont - long-time friends in real life - bringing an easygoing charm to their roles that carries you with the pair even when the choices they are making seem ridiculous, while Pelletier, Clairemboug and Bonnaire, are pitch perfect as the older generation who, in their own way, are as immature about their relationships with their sons as the lads themselves.

Amiable and laugh out loud funny, with something more serious to say about growing up, whatever your age, Pirot has crafted a sweet, if slight debut, that suggests more and better to come. And don't be surprised to see this get an American remake... let's just hope Apatow doesn't get his hands on it.

Reviewed on: 09 Nov 2012
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A pair of old friends embark on adventure in a camper van.
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Director: François Pirot

Writer: Marteen Loix, François Pirot, Jean-Benoît Ugeux

Starring: Arthur Dupont, Guillaume Gouix, Jean-Paul Bonnaire, Claudine Pelletier, Jackie Berroyer, Anne-Pascale Clairembourg, Gilles Soeder, Eugenie Anselin, Arnaud Bronsart, Gwen Berrou, Pierre Nisse, Jean-François Wolff, Jérôme Varanfrain, Mounir Bouallevul, Catherine Salée

Year: 2012

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: Belgium, Luxembourg, France


French 2012

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