In “S.O.S. Woman in Distress,” first-time helmer Evelyne Dress presents an uneven, comic look at the downside of liberated womanhood. Dress, who also produced, scripted and stars, makes an appealing center and obviously has talent , but pic’s approach is too scattered to thrive beyond fests and TV.
Eva (Dress) is a vivacious, fortyish businesswoman who hasn’t had sex in the three years since breaking up with Bruno (Gerard Darmon). Her gynecologist tells her to “use it or lose it,” but the men Eva meets are duds.
Michel (Patrick Chesnais), her grumpy partner in an Outward Bound-style adventure agency, seems to care more for bonsai trees than for her. But the mere idea of her bedding clients to secure contracts makes him jealous.
Eva’s three female buddies, who run the gamut from randy divorcee to contented housewife, spout dialogue only slightly less subtle than blinking neon signs. Few characters in the pic, save Eva herself, evolve beyond caricature.
Roster of Gallic thesps helps to offset the clumsy narrative, and lensing makes good use of Paris locations, but each scene seems to start from scratch rather than flow from what came before.
Female viewers may prove forgiving, as the film explores a rocky road that many will identify with. Pic won the Prix du Public at the 10th Intl. Festival of Women’s Images, Marseille.