an underachieving jazz musician the most promising step-father material? Probably not—and he is not interested
anyway. Nonetheless, people have a way
of coming together in romantic comedies.
Featuring a big name cast and liberal portions of slapstick comedy,
James Huth’s Happiness Never Comes Alone (trailer here) was a
crowd-pleasing opener for the 2012 In French with English Subtitles Film Festival, now underway in New York.
Sophie Marceau could not be in New York last night, but her animated co-star
Gad Elmaleh was present for a post-screening Q&A. The French Ambassador was there too, but
Elmaleh was under the impression he left early and mercilessly skewered him
accordingly. Nobody ever said diplomacy
was easy. At least Elmaleh was a hit,
on-screen and in-person.
the ostensibly mismatched Sacha Keller and Charlotte Posche, who are in fact
perfect for each other, Elmaleh and Marceau develop some nice chemistry
together. The son of a celebrated
classical pianist, Keller definitely has a hedonistic Peter Pan thing going on,
until he meets Posche. She is a mature
and sophisticated director of a non-profit arts foundation and the ex-wife of
the director of the corporation he composes freelance jingles for. She also has three kids from her two previous
marriages. That ought to be more than
enough to scare off the cradle-robbing Keller, yet he is overwhelmingly
attracted to her.
course, there are those working to keep the two lovers apart, especially her
not ex-enough-husband. Surprisingly
though, her brood warms to the musician.
Still, the course of true love never runs straight, detouring in this
case to New York City’s Great White Way.
Elmaleh and Marceau take a number of pratfalls in Happiness, which is pretty impressive in the case of the latter,
given her glamorous image. Frankly, her
Posche might get hit on the head with a bathroom sink more times than any movie
character since the glory days of Laurel & Hardy. That should also give you a good idea of the
film’s tone. In fact, it is roughly similar
to Pascal Chaumeil’s Heartbreaker,
but the comedy is broader (leaving less to be lost in translation). Jazz fans might find the jazz isn’t very
of one’s taste for physical humor, it is rather refreshing to see Marceau
playing a professional woman who is attractive to be sure, but also someone
relatively down-to-earth and no longer an ingénue to life. Aside from brief references to the Holocaust
from Keller’s grandmother, Happiness never
addresses any hot button themes, making it a good screening selection for whenever
an ambassador might be expected.
However, the In French fest has some gritty looking crime dramas
on-deck, starring genuine movie stars like Daniel Auteuil and festival special
guest Roschdy Zem.
for fans of romantic comedy with a strong physical component, Happiness Never Comes Alone is evidently
unlikely to screen in America outside of festival play, due to issues of
musical clearance. Interested viewers
should therefore keep their eyes open.
Fans of French cinema in general should also definitely check out this
year’s IFWES festival, with screenings throughout Saturday (12/1) and Sunday
(12/2) at the French Institute Alliance Française’s Florence Gould Hall.
Labels: French Cinema, IFWES '12, Sophie Marceau