Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Irreverent schoolboy Titeuf is the comic creation of Zep, aka Swiss cartoonist Philippe Chappuis. A huge hit in Francophone countries - 10 out of the 12 bestselling cartoon albums in France last year, concerned him - those not familar with the 10-year-old's adventures need only imagine Bart Simpson's, slightly more sweary, considerably more scatalogical Gallic relative to be pretty close.

And so, after blazing a trail to the hearts - or at least to the belching muscle - of French-speaking schoolboys everywhere, courtesy of the comics and his own TV series, the bald boy with a magnificent blond plume on his head leaps onto the big screen for a 3D adventure.

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Although the dubious pleasures of 3D projectile vomiting, mammoth poo and nose picking were denied me, thanks to watching the 2D version, I'm happy to confirm that boys of Titeuf's age and just about any age above are likely to enjoy his antics. It's fair to say that their female counterparts, however, may be rather less enamoured, given the stereotypical view of girls presented - think romance CDs, haughtiness and kissing-with-tongues - although this stance is, arguably, pretty much in keeping with the mindset of the (stereo)typical 10-year-old male.

Girls are something of a problem for Titeuf. For a start, there's his baby sister Zizzie and mum. Then there's Nadia, on whom he has a crush. "The only trouble is," he tells his pals "she's a girl". On the home front, his father is having girl trouble, too. Mum has decided to head off to the countryside to her parents with Zizzie, to think things over, leaving Titeuf at home with dad. Meanwhile, Nadia is planning a joint birthday party... but how on earth will he get an invite?

Zep's animation is an explosion of colour and activity, taking us on Titeuf's flights of fancy and dragging us on adventures through his dreamscapes, including a memorable prehistoric opening sequence. Despite an emphasis on poo gags, he also finds time to offer a decent amount of insight into what it feels like to be a 10-year-old on the verge of hormonal yearnings, whose homelife is rocky and whose understanding of the world has still to develop. Some of the gags are linguistic and don't quite survive the subtitling, while the fact that Titeuf is not afraid to bandy the word 'shit' about might be off-putting to some parents of pre-teens - if the film gets an English dub at some point I wouldn't be surprised to see the language cleaned up and some of the idiom adjusted.

That said, his vocabulary is probably no more colourful than that available in playgrounds up and down the land and his use of swear words will no doubt add to the film's 'cool' value where his classroom contemporaries are concerned. Vibrant, vulgar and pretty damn funny.

Reviewed on: 15 Nov 2011
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A schoolboy tries to cope with his parent's trial separation and win over the girl of his dreams.
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Director: Zep

Writer: Zep

Starring: Donald Reignoux, Mélanie Bernier, Zabou Breitman, Jean-Luc Couchard, Danielle Hazan, Nathalie Homs, Sam Karmann, Michael Lonsdale, Maria Pacôme, Jean Rochefort

Year: 2011

Runtime: 87 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: France


French 2011

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