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What I Did For Love

"What I Did for Love" is a French film set in Los Angeles featuring characters who switch from French to English dialogue with dizzying frequency.

With:
Lisa - Ophelie Winter Marc - Jean-Marc Barr Jacqueline - Raquel Welch Victor - Philippe Duquesne Alex - Frederic Bouraly (French and English dialogue)

“What I Did for Love” is a French film set in Los Angeles featuring characters who switch from French to English dialogue with dizzying frequency. In other words, it’s a real trans-Atlantic muddle, and this tale of a straight guy who pretends to be gay is dragged down by the linguistic and cultural schizophrenia at the heart of the confused script. Auds on both sides of the Atlantic will likely be puzzled by this light comedy about French expats in Southern California, though it will generate some interest in Europe thanks to the presence of Gallic pop star/thesp Ophelie Winter and Jean-Marc Barr.

At start, freelance photojournalist Marc (Barr) has a big fight with his roommate and is casting about for a place to stay. He heads over to call in a favor with his pal Victor (Philippe Duquesne), who runs a chic eatery. Victor agrees to let him stay at his place, much to the chagrin of his lover, Alex (Frederic Bouraly).

Alex is soon so fed up with their new houseguest that he dreams up a scheme for Marc to move in with Alex’s good friend Lisa (Winter). She has just booted out her philandering husband, and the lonely Lisa wants some company in her sumptuous beachfront mansion. The only problem is that she wants to split the house with a gay man, given that she’s a bit soured on hetero guys.

So Marc agrees to vamp it up in return for a place to stay. Of course, not too long after he takes up residence in Lisa’s pad, they begin to fall in love with each other, with Lisa upset by the notion that she’s got the hots for a gay man.

Pic is notable mostly for its almost total absence of genuinely comic moments and its reliance on every cliche about gay culture. The plot moves along in absolutely predictable fashion, and it doesn’t help that viewers will lose time in the early going trying to figure out the cultural heritage of the main characters. For example, Raquel Welch plays Lisa’s mother, and it’s never explained how a character named Lisa McGregor, with an American mom, is French.

Winter looks gorgeous, as usual, but her perf is not particularly distinguished. Barr fares somewhat better and is generally a pleasant presence. Welch has a tiny role.

Pic has a slick rock soundtrack and is shot mostly in interiors, with the exception of beach sequences outside Lisa’s house.

What I Did For Love

Production: A Les Films de la Suane/Prods. Internationales le Film production, with the participation of Canal Plus and Sofica Sofinergie IV. (International sales: TF1 Intl., Paris.) Produced by Lise Fayolle. Directed by Jerome Cornuau. Screenplay, Mary Logan, Guy-Pierre Bennet, Franc Caggiano, Francoise de Maulde.

With: Lisa - Ophelie Winter Marc - Jean-Marc Barr Jacqueline - Raquel Welch Victor - Philippe Duquesne Alex - Frederic Bouraly (French and English dialogue)Camera (color), Jean-Claude Thibaut; editor, Brian Schmitt; costumes, Nicole Liaigre, Mirette Ade; sound, Eric De Vulder; casting, Pierre-Jacques Benicho, Amy Lieberman. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 18, 1998. Running time: 88 MIN.

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