A frankly funny look at the perils of marital boredom, “7 Years of Marriage” is sweetly suggestive without ever tipping into sleaze or vulgarity. Pic marks the more-than-honorable solo helming debut of comic thesp Didier Bourdon, who co-stars and co-scripted. A French pic with universal resonance and a soupcon of remake potential, modest, intelligent comedy could show legs — with garter belt to match. Opening figures for June 25 release in Gaul are encouraging.
Emergency room doc Alain (Bourdon) and his wife Audrey (Catherine Frot), a bank manager, have fallen into a stale, mostly sex-free routine. They live in a rambling old apartment with their cute daughter Camille and Audrey’s brother Arnaud (Yan Duffas), a gay interior designer between residences.
Although he’s remained faithful, Alain finds his eye wandering as Audrey acts increasingly tense and standoffish. Alain’s good friend Claude (Jacques Weber), the sex therapist at the hospital where both men work, encourages Alain to talk dirty and share porn viewing sessions with Audrey. The strategy backfires.
But when Audrey’s ultra-respectable father is implicated in a transvestite-and-money laundering scandal and she catches her perfectly groomed suburban mother enjoying non-ecclesiastical comfort from the family priest, Audrey decides it may be time to loosen up.
Couple’s apprenticeship in walking on the wild side is adorable in an adult vein. From the well-dressed patient who claims she has no idea how her cell phone became lodged in her vagina with the “vibrate” function activated, to the upscale wife-swapping club to which tentative Alain and Audrey are invited by Claude and his painfully intellectual novelist wife Viviane (Claire Nadeau), pic amuses as it explores.
Script’s almost-wholesome approach generates laughs rather than steam. From leads to supporting roles, cast is a treat. Nadeau steals the handful of scenes she’s in and Frot — who may be Gaul’s leading practitioner of prim bourgeois characters with repressed charms — is perfection.