Tuesday, June 26, 2012

...And They Lived Happily Ever After (2004) [UR] ***

Having enjoyed Love, Etc and My Wife is an Actress I was a little disappointed with this third pairing of Yvan Attal and his real-life wife Charlotte Gainsbourg. Vincent (Attal) is a car salesman, married to real estate agent Gabrielle (Gainsbourg). They live with their young son in an old Paris apartment building, trapped in the boredom that comes from living day after day with the same person, doing the same job, eating the same food, talking to the same people. They each have a group of friends with whom they share confidences. The major topic is sex: married sex, single sex, extramarital sex, hearing the neighbors have sex. Gabrielle senses that Vincent is having an affair, and he is. Gabrielle wonders what she should do: Make a scene, ask him to choose, leave him? None of this is new territory; it's been done before and better.

The few scenes in which the film comes to life feel as though they were added as an afterthought, to liven up the movie. There's the opening scene in which Vincent pretends to pick up Gabrielle at a bar, as a way of spicing up their love life. (That scene was done ten years earlier by Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan in When a Man Loves a Woman.) Later, Gabrielle has a wordless interlude with a handsome stranger (Johnny Depp) at a music store while they are listening to a CD. Is this a cameo with Johnny Depp playing himself? If not, why cast Depp? Still later, Vincent and Gabrielle have a food fight as a prelude to making love, while Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid plays on the TV, with the song South American Getaway in the background. While entertaining, it doesn't reveal anything we don't already know about these two people.

In addition to starring, Attal was the screenwriter and director. While he succeeded earlier in My Wife is an Actress he fails this time. There's no story arc, no character growth or development. Will Vincent leave his mistress and return to Gabrielle? Will Gabrielle have an affair of her own, perhaps with Johnny Depp's character? Sadly, we don't really care.

Labels: comedy, drama, music, Paris

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