Review: ‘Moving Out’

Moving Out" examines the frenetic string of events triggered by a writer's resignation from his publishing job for a high-paying post as a sitcom scribe on the day he and his family are set to move out into their dream house beyond Paris. First-time director Olivier Doran does many things right in recounting a day in which everything goes wrong, but can't completely compensate for a script whose complications soon wear thin. Energetic and appealing cross-section of up-and-coming young Gallic thesps keeps things pleasantly watchable, if never riveting. A modest house-warming at local hardtops, followed by a hitch-free move to the small screen, looks likely.

Moving Out” examines the frenetic string of events triggered by a writer’s resignation from his publishing job for a high-paying post as a sitcom scribe on the day he and his family are set to move out into their dream house beyond Paris. First-time director Olivier Doran does many things right in recounting a day in which everything goes wrong, but can’t completely compensate for a script whose complications soon wear thin. Energetic and appealing cross-section of up-and-coming young Gallic thesps keeps things pleasantly watchable, if never riveting. A modest house-warming at local hardtops, followed by a hitch-free move to the small screen, looks likely.

Alain (Danyboon), 32, cleans out his desk at work and rushes home when his beloved, pregnant wife Tina (Emmanuelle Devos) calls to report that the illegal Romanian movers Alain hired have arrived four hours early. The quartet of shady klutzes gets into a street fight and flee, leaving their van double-parked and Alain in the lurch. Alain recruits friends to bail him out with packing and furniture hauling.

Fun-loving lawyer Jean (Sami Bouajila), cocaine-addled documentary filmmaker Franck (Serge Hazanavicius), sexy single Lea (Marine Delterme), cool doomsayer Sam (Dieudonne) and his estranged wife Claire (Agnes Jouai) all come to the rescue but don’t really advance the cause. Meanwhile, on this of all days, Alain’s buddy Claude (Francois Cluzet) summons him for an urgent story conference with his new boss, a network bigwig.

Former thesp, screenwriter and playwright Doran’s visual sense has genuine verve at the outset but gets bogged down by the repetitive narrative, which offers a manic take on the constant annoyance of ringing portable phones, the lengths to which old friends will and won’t go to help out, and the apparently immutable nature of men who stray and womenfolk who forgive.

However attractive the cast, it’s practically impossible to stretch a day’s move into a full-length feature, as Denis Dercourt acknowledged earlier this year in his 61-minute comic essay (also titled “Le demenagement”) that explored different facets of the same topic. Far slicker, present pic functions fine as a jaunty reminder that few things are more stressful than moving and as a framework in which some of Gaul’s rising thesps can strut their stuff.

Punchy score is best in its instrumental passages.

Moving Out

French

Production

A Gaumont release (in France) of a Gaumont, France 2 Cinema production, with participation of Canal Plus. Produced by Jean-Claude Fleury. Executive producer ,Cynthia Fleury. Directed by Olivier Doran. Screenplay, Doran, Pierre Amzallag, Didier Sidbon.

With

Alain ..... Danyboon Tina ..... Emmanuelle Devos Jean ..... Sami Bouajila Lea ..... Marine Delterme Sam ..... Dieudonne Franck ..... Serge Hazanavicius Claire ..... Agnes Jouai Claude ..... Francois Cluzet With: Olivier Loustau, Anouk Ferjac, Didier Sidbon.
Camera (color), William Watterlot; editor, Emmanuelle Baude; music, Manu Katche; art direction, Denis Hager; costume design, Rose-Marie Melka; sound, Stephane Thiebaut; assistant director, Pascal Salafa. Reviewed at Club Gaumont screening room, Paris, June 10, 1997. Running time: 92 MIN.
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