Cantana fails to score in French Film

PUBLISHED: 12:02 15 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:11 07 September 2010

Writer Aschlin Ditta seems to specialise in films with misleading titles set in London over the summer. After 2006 s Scenes Of A Sexual Nature (or rather Sexless Nature), he s now come up with French Film, a British film that is so terribly, terribly Bri

Writer Aschlin Ditta seems to specialise in films with misleading titles set in London over the summer. After 2006's Scenes Of A Sexual Nature (or rather Sexless Nature), he's now come up with French Film, a British film that is so terribly, terribly British it makes Notting Hill look like Slumdog Millionaire.

In this week's second Woody Allen reference, Ditta's comedy drama rejigs Husbands and Wives as two seemingly happy couples (Bonnerville and Hamilton, Duff and Henshall) find out how quickly love can unravel.

Bonneville's Jed is a Francophobe features writer who is preparing for an interview with an enigmatic philosophical French film-maker Grimandi (Cantona), a man who believes himself to be an expert on love. Jed has caused a crack in his seemingly secure 10-year relationship to Cheryl by proposing.

The film has a few potentially decent ideas but the jokes are almost all weak and a good cast can't kick away the stilts and make this dialogue real. Only Hamilton really squeezes any genuine feeling from her scenes.

Cheryl's gripe about Jed is that he is a coward and there is something cowardly about this film that seems to have aspiration to be a serious film about romance but keeps sliding back into that enfeebling cosy haven of us Brits being so terribly repressed and inarticulate. This British film is gutless surrender 24 frames a second.

It offers up a default win for the French. Cantona is perfectly cast as a puffed up, pretentious, Gallic windbag who rotates his single idea, that the beginning is everything endlessly in a recorded interview that pops up like a Greek chorus throughout the film.

Yet unbelievably, Cantona isn't convincing as a pretentious Gallic windbag - talk about not being able to play yourself.

Despite 16 film credits to his name he's still really stiff on screen. It goes without saying that he can't match the quality of Graeme Souness's one scene in Boys From the Blackstuff, but he is completely outclassed by Ally McCoist's performance opposite Robert Duvall in A Shot at Glory.

French Film (15)

Director Jackie Oudney Starring Hugh Bonneville, Anne-Marie Duff, Victoria Hamilton, Douglas Henshall and Eric Cantona

87 mins

One star


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