Review: ‘La Vengeance D’une Blonde; Revenge of a Blonde’

Laughs are few and far between in "Revenge of a Blonde," a shallow sendup of a nightly news-powered TV-ratings chase that devolves into a half-hearted lovers' quarrel. Gallic auds have been drawn in by "Les Visiteurs" star Christian Clavier, and other Euro territories will probably behave otherwise, but hearty perfs can't save overwrought and underwritten plot.

Laughs are few and far between in “Revenge of a Blonde,” a shallow sendup of a nightly news-powered TV-ratings chase that devolves into a half-hearted lovers’ quarrel. Gallic auds have been drawn in by “Les Visiteurs” star Christian Clavier, and other Euro territories will probably behave otherwise, but hearty perfs can’t save overwrought and underwritten plot.

When the primetime news anchor on ratings-hungry private station TV8 has a crippling accident, minor market newscaster Gerard Breha (Clavier) is promoted to the choice slot.

Ratings soar when Breha — initially summoned to Paris only because his face echoes the composite reached in a poll of what a trustworthy anchor should look like — forcefully interviews a politician about the YAM gang (a French acronym for “We’re Fed Up”), whose ongoing violent attacks on gun shops spread terror.

With sudden fame, Clavier’s wife Corine (the title blonde and co-scripter, Marie-Anne Chazel) and two kids see less and less of him. Sexually aggressive news producer Marie-Ange (bitchy powerhouse Clementine Celarie), whose libido is linked to ratings, seduces Clavier. Wife gets her revenge when she and hubby appear live on the station’s sleazy truth-or-dare show hosted, in an over-the-top pastiche perf, by Thierry Lhermitte. The YAM gang storms the studio and takes hostages. Script is as by-the-numbers as it sounds.

Next-to-nothing is done with the Berlusconi-like media magnate who owns the station, and broad humor is carried mostly by frantic editing. Paris-born helmer Jeannot Szwarc, who sports a long career in U.S. television (“Kojak,””Columbo”) and features (“Jaws 2,””Supergirl”), brings a certain breathless quality to the proceedings. Thesps remain watchable throughout, but plausibility quotient is low.

Major Gallic pubcaster TF1 co-produced pic, which may partially account for satire’s blunt edge.

La Vengeance D'une Blonde; Revenge of a Blonde

Production

An AMLF release of a Les Films de la Colline/TF1 Films Production/Lumiere co-production with the participation of Canal Plus, Cofimage 4 and Investimage 4 . (International sales: President Films, Jacques-Eric Strauss.) Produced by Marie Meunier. Executive producer, Robert Benmussa. Directed by Jeannot Szwarc. Screenplay, Valentine Albin, Marie-Anne Chazel, Bernard Murat, Michel Delgado.

Crew

Camera (color), Jean-Yves Le Mener; editor, Catherine Kelber; music, Eric Levi; set design, Dominique Maleret; set decoration, Lise Peault; costume design, Catherine Leterrier; sound (Dolby), Frederic Hamelin; associate producer, Richard Grandpierre; assistant director, Henri Grimault; casting, Francoise Menifrey. Reviewed at UCG Odeon Cinema, Paris, Feb. 22, 1994. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Gerard Breha ... Christian Clavier Corine Breha ... Marie-Anne Chazel Marie-Ange de la Baume ... Clementine Celarie Gilles Favier ... Thierry Lhermitte
With: Annie Cordy, Marc De Jonge, Philippe Khorsand, Angelo Infanti, Maurice Lamy.
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