Review: ‘Comme T’y Es Belle!’

Rough-hewn pedestrian comedy "Comme t'y es belle!" has done terrific biz since its May 10 launch, racking up 1 million tix and counting. Why this film with muddy photography, set-to-a-song montage passages worthy of a 1960s sitcom intro, and mostly self-involved superficial characters has attracted so many paying customers is a mystery, except that pic is Gaul's first to show sassy and well-off Jewish women of Sephardic heritage trying to balance work, romance and child-rearing.

Rough-hewn pedestrian comedy “Comme t’y es belle!” has done terrific biz since its May 10 launch, racking up 1 million tix and counting. Why this film with muddy photography, set-to-a-song montage passages worthy of a 1960s sitcom intro, and mostly self-involved superficial characters has attracted so many paying customers is a mystery, except that pic is Gaul’s first to show sassy and well-off Jewish women of Sephardic heritage trying to balance work, romance and child-rearing. Only a handful of scenes actually sparkle although the by-the-numbers four-hander is as perky as a Hebrew school cheerleading squad.

Gaul is on a roll with both worthy and unworthy hit comedies at present; with distribs lined up in other French-lingo territories, this sitcom-like pic would appear to have a future as encouraging as it is inexplicable.

Beauty center owner and mother-of-three Isa (Michele Laroque) is divorced; mother-of one Lea (Aure Atika) is separated; still-married mom Alice (Valerie Benguigui) is misunderstood by her obnoxious golf-addicted hubby Gilles (Alexandre Astier), and, youngest of the thick-as-thieves batch, Nina (Geraldine Nakache) is as yet unattached.

When not razzing one another by way of support, harried central quartet flirts and sleeps around. Token Jewish mother types pop in and out to deliver admonitions.

Pic has been described as a “Sex and the City” French-style; the number of attractive men available to bed femme protags almost qualifies, but the multitude of kids doesn’t.

On the tech front, many home movies look better, although d.p. Nigel Willoughby proved his skill when he lit “The Magdalene Sisters.” Slangy title translates as “You’re some looker!”

Comme T'y Es Belle!

France-Belgium-Luxembourg-U.K.

Production

A Pan-Europeenne Edition (in France)/ Cineart (in Belgium)/ Samsa (in Luxembourg) release of a Liaison Cinematographique and Wild Bunch presentation of a Liaison Cinematographique and Wild Bunch production in co-production with Future Films, Samsa Film, Entre Chien et Loup, TF1 Films Production, RTBF, with participation of Canal Plus in association with Sofica Valor 7. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Jani Thiltges. Executive producer, Serge Zeitoun. Lead co-producer, Juliette Renaud. Co-producers, Albert Martinez-Martin, Stephen Margolis, Claude Waringo, Diana Elbaum, Arlette Zylberberg. Directed by Lisa Azuelos. Screenplay, Azuelos, Michael Lellouche, Herve Mimran.

Crew

Camera (color), Nigel Willoughby; editors, Philippe Grellat, Nathalie Hubert; production designer, Baptiste Poirot; costume designer, Magdalena Labuz. Reviewed at UGC Danton, Paris, June 2, 2006. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

Michele Laroque, Aure Atika, Valerie Benguigui, Geraldine Nakache, Marthe Villalonga, Francis Huster, Alexandre Astier, Thierry Neuvic, David Kammenos, Andrew Lincoln, Dora Doll, Frederic Beigbeder, Amel Djemel.
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