Funniest summer movie is a sublimely silly French comedy

A pair of fools set off on a complicated road trip that only seems to extend for a few kilometers. They have to pick up a suitcase whose contents they are not supposed to discover and deliver it elsewhere – for 500 euros. Easy money. Along the way, they discover that the dilapidated Mercedes sedan they stole to accomplish their task has a fly the size of a dog in its trunk.

The fly makes some weird chirping sounds but is otherwise gentle, more afraid of them than they are. Instead of getting rid of the giant fly or stealing another car, one of them decides he can make a lot more money by training him to rob banks for him. Their ensuing adventure is filled with increasingly dense decision-making and silly luck.

This is the premise of Rubber director Quentin Dupieuxthe last film of Mandibles, available on request July 23. This is his first full-scale comedy, but its fairly straightforward plot contains his usual rigorous sense of the absurd. The adventures of the severely obtuse Manu (Gregory Ludig) and the astonishing illogical Jean-Gab (David Marsais) are as dumb as they are convincing, with their relentlessly terrible decision-making that takes the standards of French (and American) comedy blockbusters to new levels. As the author Bruno Dumont, Dupieux emerged from his more artistic style to play in comedic waters. The result is, refreshingly, not top-notch humor, but an admirable attempt to see how far the well-worn buddy comedy formula can be taken – and where that process might ideologically take us. .

French comedies are said to be steeped in language and gesture, although not always overtly physical. Communication issues, funny voices, and bad manners are often cited, deepening the idea that the greatest laughs must come from those who don’t fit in or understand. Dupieux uses this foundation to examine class dynamics: Manu and Jean-Gab are homeless and working class respectively, Manu sleeping on the beach after being evicted from his accommodation, and Jean-Gab living with his mother and working in a gas station. They are cash poor with negative assets. 500 euros is a lot of money for both of them. Yet despite the easy opportunity given to them, they cannot seem to follow simple instructions to collect their dues. They want more — potentially thousands — and they’re pretty confident in their unlearned ways.

Confident idiots are also at the heart of many great American comedies, which at best are mindful of how the world views Americans, greedy and boastful. Dupieux seems to comment on the two kinds of confidences, French and American, and to confront his characters with their contradictions. Manu and Jean-Gab are totally without manners and at times aggressive, but totally serious and often vulnerable. They have big ambitions that seem unlikely to come true, but they come out of every breakaway unscathed. The most honest and wealthy people around them are so bewildered by their presence that they are easily deceived.

The oddly won luck of the two friends takes them to the summer residence of a rich girl, Cécile (India Hair), who takes Manu for a childhood friend. Among these rich, only the unfortunate Agnes, played hilariously by Blue is the warmest color to burst Adèle Exarchopoulos, may seem to be on their level. She speaks exclusively in a garish register – brain damage from a skiing accident being the explanation – and berates men for their stupidity. She is wary of their clumsiness precisely because her handicap clearly sets her apart from her glamorous friends. They see her as a matter of charity, condescendingly praising her cooking, talking about her as if she isn’t there, and otherwise ignoring her, unable or unwilling to adapt in any meaningful way to her. new way of being. With her surprising pitch, she can be the bad guy, pushing back politeness to take on these weird new intruders.

Of course, one of the ironies at the center of Mandibles is that the most demanding person in the movie gets pushed aside because they can’t communicate respectably. What makes Manu and Jean-Gab so funny is that they tend to say the most ridiculous things in such a gentle and modest way that despite their lack of intelligence or common sense, Cécile perceives them. like sweet. For men, this can be a winning combination, especially when their benevolent (but not harmless) ignorance seems familiar. Cécile accepts Manu only because she thinks she knows him, and ignores all signs of deception, ultimately betraying Agnes because her confidence in false knowledge is so strong.

Manu and Jean-Gab oppose the tortured dynamic of Cécile and Agnès. Their friendship is intractable. No matter how much they wander and wander off, they always come back to their place. This is all incredibly silly, but undeniably honest.

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