“Loose Screws” is a vibrant, freewheeling first film whose large cast, zingy thesping and technical polish belie a mere three-week shooting schedule. Twenty-five-year old helmer Frederic Jardin — who has picked up a useful trick or two as assistant director for Godard, Doillon and Sautet — is a talent to watch.
A slick, intense and humorous examination of a petulant band of self-centered young Parisians, pic is an appealing if improbable look at the rigors of sex and love as seen from the vantage of Gallic baby-boomer bellybuttons. If that sounds like familiar territory, pic’s saving grace is that it orbits its characters’s navels rather than helmer’s. Pacing is a cut above the norm and lensing is airy and assured.
Dashingly cynical Edouard hosts a lonely-hearts confessional show on a hip Paris radio station and, as the only romantically unattached member of his circle of pals, gives unsolicited advice to his twentysomething cohorts.
Edouard was an item with spacey Lotte, but she’s now completely taken with strong silent type Roman. Boyish Eric and womanly Louise break up when Louise falls for fiftyish intellectual Landrieu, and Eric takes up with sexy shoe saleswoman Vera.
Slightly older Gloria and Josef are married and working themselves to death, but Josef is cheating with Julie, and Gloria has found spectacular carnal delight in the arms of the manager of a local coffee shop, Franck.
Characters tryst, gossip, go to work and barrel toward their respective romantic crises. Pretty girls take their shirts off, everyone pouts, ponders, expounds and exchanges occasionally snappy dialogue.
Dolores Chaplin cameos in a horror movie that is being promoted by a PR firm where some characters work.
Summery location lensing in typical Paris streets is as pleasantly giddy as the fine performances and competently interwoven vignettes. The camera leans in close to get the juicy details of couplings and uncouplings.