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.