Oh La La!

Oh La La!


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The English title of Anne Fontaine’s Nouvelle Chance says it all, with a limp wrist held high and the cheeky tilt of a polished ankle. If you have not signed up for the Camping For Boys fancy dress drinky-poos at The Baths, stay at a safe distance; you might be brushed to death with feather dusters.

An effete actor/producer of “entertainments”, called Augustin (Jean-Chretien Sibertin-Blanc), has a day job as pool attendant at a posh Parisian swimming club. When asked by the local manager of a Swedish company to put on a typically French play for his bosses and their corporate cronies, he sets out to find a script and con performers into rehearsing for something that may never happen.

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Out of retirement and an old people’s home comes geriatric, one-time star of operettas, Odette (Danielle Darrieux). From the pool rises TV actress and national sex object, the hour-glass waisted, Angelina Jolie lipalike, Bettina (Arielle Dombasle), and from a discreet advert arrives Franck (Christophe Van de Velde), a first generation Algerian, playing the love interest, quickly exchanged for Raphael (Andy Gillet), a ridiculously pretty social worker, because Bettina took one look and went wet all over.

Odette and Bettina clash; it’s a woman thing – too, too, dahling! Franck has a strop about being replaced by a talentless amateur, who looks like a girl, until he is offered the role of a religious big wig, not in the script (yet), while Bettina and Raphael, who turns out to be AC/DC – oh la la! – snog like teenage bunnies.

Supervising all this and keeping the ship (play) on some kind of course is Augustin, whose alleged charms are based on pity and a bumbling opportunistic nature. Watching him create a theatrical event from the flimsiest of materials is a lesson in positive futility.

Either this is a cringe-making tribute to Darrieux (Le Plaisir, Madame de…), or a television sitcom special, starring everyone's favourite gay friend. The experience questions the merit of artistic endeavour. Unpicking a woolen jumper has more intrinsic merit.

Reviewed on: 01 Apr 2007
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Oh La La! packshot
A disparate group of Parisians rehearse a play that is trying to be typically French.

Director: Anne Fontaine

Writer: Julien Boivent, Anne Fontaine

Starring: Danielle Darrieux, Arielle Dombasle, Jean-Chrétien Sibertin-Blanc, Andy Gillet, Christophe Van de Velde, Michel Baudinat, Katsuko Nakamura, Øystein Singsaas, Mariana Otero, Philippe Storez, Xavier Morineau

Year: 2006

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France


French 2007

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