Review: ‘My Woman Is Leaving Me’

"My Woman Is Leaving Me" is a featherweight comedy of errors in which two mutually adoring individuals are kept apart by incriminating appearances. Despite name cast of Michel Boujenah, Miou-Miou and Thierry Lhermitte -- last seen together in "La Totale!," progenitor of "True Lies"-- pic has met with tepid response locally. But the movie, based on an idea by bankable comic vet Claude Zidi, provides a viable template for a telepic in any country where citizens are willing to marry foreigners for cash.

“My Woman Is Leaving Me” is a featherweight comedy of errors in which two mutually adoring individuals are kept apart by incriminating appearances. Despite name cast of Michel Boujenah, Miou-Miou and Thierry Lhermitte — last seen together in “La Totale!,” progenitor of “True Lies”– pic has met with tepid response locally. But the movie, based on an idea by bankable comic vet Claude Zidi, provides a viable template for a telepic in any country where citizens are willing to marry foreigners for cash.

TV reporter Joanna Martin (Miou-Miou) and hotshot lawyer Samuel Bosquier (Boujenah) have been living in sin for 15 years and are still nuts about each other. When Joanna’s regional TV station sends her undercover to expose the ease with which fraudulent marriages can be carried out, she plots to appropriate the identity of her old-maid sister andgo through with a bogus marriage to Hungarian immigrant worker Pavel Kovacs (Lhermitte), all unbeknownst to Samuel.

The confusion begins when Joanna agrees to write a stern letter of adieu on behalf of her concierge to the latter’s abusive hubby. By chance finding a draft of the letter, an incredulous Samuel goes to pieces and begins indulging in odd behavior that repeatedly lands him at the police station. Meanwhile, a skeptical city official (Line Renaud) becomes convinced Joanna and Pavel are phony lovers contemplating a bogus marriage, and tails them mercilessly, necessitating an elaborate charade.

Helmer Didier Kaminka, who has done snappier work in the past, favors broad strokes all the way in this, his fifth feature. Although likable thesps put the story across with casual aplomb, and there are chuckles to be had throughout, the enterprise never feels like it required the bigscreen.

Lensing has a perfunctory, borderline murky look. Incidental music is OK.

My Woman Is Leaving Me

(FRENCH)

Production

An AMLF release (in France) of a Messine Prods./Labbefilms/France 2 Cinema production, with participation of Canal Plus, Sofinergie 3, Procirep, CNC. Produced by Alain Terzian. Directed by Didier Kaminka. Screenplay, Kaminka, Pierre Aknine, Stephane Kaminka, Samuel Kaminka, based on an idea by Claude Zidi.

Crew

Camera (color), Alain Choquart, Myriam Vinocour; editor, Nicole Saunier; music, Eric Levi; art direction, Laurent Tesseyre; costume design, Cecile Magnan; sound (Dolby), Jean-Louis Ughetto, Claude Villand, Bernard Leroux; assistant director, Simon Lelouch. Reviewed at UGC Danton Cinema, Paris, Jan. 24, 1996. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Samuel Bosquier ... Michel Boujenah Joanna Martin ... Miou-Miou Pavel Kovacs ... Thierry Lhermitte Margot Piquet ... Line Renaud Alain ... Daniel Russo Stephane Lasser ... Darry Cowl
With: Daniel Prevost, Claire Nadeau, Jean-Pierre Castaldi, Christine Lemler.
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