Review: ‘Monique’

In the contempo comedy "Monique," a morose photographer affects those around him mostly for the better when he takes up with a lusciously proportioned, life-sized silicone doll.

In the contempo comedy “Monique,” a morose photographer affects those around him mostly for the better when he takes up with a lusciously proportioned, life-sized silicone doll. Ultra leisurely and faintly sinister, this first feature by writer-helmer Valerie Guignabodet melds crass male fantasies, workplace inertia and garden-variety ennui into an offbeat package that’s been a modest local success since opening late August. If anyone’s planning a Marital Boredom Film Festival, here’s the gala opener.

As Alex the ad man, who’s completely lost interest in his job and wife Claire (Marianne Denicourt), Albert Dupontel sports a shell-shocked, deadpan demeanor that suggests Buster Keaton with jaundice. But once he orders a compliant $6,000 rubber mannequin over the Internet — and sullenly, if vigorously, has his way with “her” — everybody’s hormones get a boost. Subsequent behavior of Alex’s co-workers, his spouse and her friends is both very French and very strange. Weak link in social satire is that thesp Denicourt is far more attractive than plastic playmate Monique. Lensing of upscale, brightly colored locales gets the job done, and English-lingo songs dominate the score.

Monique

France

Production

A Pan-Europeenne release of a Pan-Europeenne Prod., M6 Films, PGP Prods. production. (International sales: M6 Droits Audiovisuels, Paris.) Produced by Philippe Godeau. Executive producer, Baudoin Capet. Directed, written by Valerie Guignabodet.

Crew

Camera (color), Jean-Claude Larrieu; editor, Monica Coleman; music, Eric Neveux; art director, Mathieu Menut; costume designer, Fabienne Katany. Reviewed at UCG Les Halles, Paris, Sept. 15, 2002. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Albert Dupontel, Marianne Denicourt, Philippe Uchan, Marine Tome, Sophie Mounicot, Gilles Gaston-Dreyfus, Margot Abascal.
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