Reviewed at Vevey Comedy Film Festival (competing), July 25, 1995. Running time: 101 MIN.
Raymond … Maxime Leroux
Melanie … Francesca Lefever
Riton … Yves Afonso
With: Gaelle Dill, Arlette Balkis, Isabelle Tanakil.
The far-fetched tale of an upper-class French woman who wants to marry a lower-class boxer, “Excentric Paradise” features good perfs and a fair share of downtrodden charm. Modest, hopeful pic won’t ascend to B.O. paradise, but could garner OK returns at French-lingo wickets before finding tube slots.
Obstacles galore face well-to-do physician Melanie (Francesca Lefever) who, four years after divorcing her socially suitable but mentally and sexually unsatisfying hubby of 15 years, finds bliss in the arms of Raymond (Maxime Leroux), a boxer forced to hang up his gloves after recovering from a coma.
As far as her hoity-toity family is concerned, Melanie’s love for Raymond is so far off the scale of acceptable behavior that she finds herself committed to a posh loony bin.
Raymond and his wholesome ex-con buddy Riton (Yves Afonso) plot to spring Melanie and set in motion the endless paperwork for the French wedding they’re determined to have.
Sticky complications arise — including Raymond’s forced sojourn in the same psychiatric hospital.
Lead trio of lovable losers remains tender and amusing despite a few rough patches in the script and overlength of at least 10 minutes. Lefever imparts a spacey, shellshocked grace to Melanie, and Leroux and Afonso communicate a do-or-die complicity without being saccharine.