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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

COMMENT JE ME SUIS DISPUTE . . . (MA VIE SEXUELLE)

COMMENT JE ME SUIS DISPUTE . . . (MA VIE SEXUELLE) / MY SEX LIFE . . . OR HOW I GOT INTO AN ARGUMENT (1997)

(Note how the title & subtitle switched positions for the Stateside release.)

This early work from the wildly talented French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin must have looked fresher when it came out. Now, it wouldn’t serve as makings for pain perdu. (With CHRISTMAS TALE/08 and KINGS AND QUEEN/’04, Desplechin has moved far beyond this.) It gets off to a promising start as we sort out a fresh cast of handsome late twenty-somethings in cafes, at parties, in bed, at work, as they find out how hard the transition to stable adulthood can be. (And, yes, the tv show FRIENDS does come to mind; there’s even a monkey.) The focus narrows onto Mathieu Amalric, a thesis-shy professor whose puppyish face hides a lot of angst, and the three woman he fears might ‘complete’ him, ergo ‘negate’ him. Desplechin’s technique is a loose, ill-lit grubby realism, very ‘90s and not much missed, though it does match up with the unstructured lives on screen. (Does anyone in France keep regular work hours?) But must all the characters be such pains in the neck, all the time? The girlfriends are bitch psycho-dramas, with Amalric as world champion PMS-enabler. And the case isn't helped by an overindulgent three-hour running time. Actually, the secondary relationships between the boys are better observed. The guys are all shits, but they’re shits in their own special way . . . hilariously so.

NOTE: Fox Lorber’s DVD has a pretty sub-par image, but it’s the only one currently available.

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