An ultra-outre comic caper from writer-director Florence Quentin ("Ole!").

The coupon-clipping habits of two miserly bigots are shamefully brought to the screen in “Leur morale … et la notre,” an ultra-outre comic caper from writer-director Florence Quentin (“Ole!”). The pic’s absurdist concept may have worked had it been underplayed a la Archie Bunker or with the finesse of legendary Gallic misanthrope Louis de Funes, but the jokes are far too flaky, and the acting too much like “The Muppet Show,” to push laughs much beyond the opening credits. Stars Andre Dussollier and Victoria Abril should draw mediocre biz in France.

Middle-aged lovebirds Andre (Dussollier) and Muriel (Abril) run an illegal enterprise from their provincial villa, reselling store-bought products whose labels they send back for a refund. When their elderly neighbor (Francoise Bertin) keels over from food poisoning, her unlikely Arab heir (Samir Guesmi) becomes the target of a “Rear Window”-style stalking spree and endless racist banter. Despite intriguing final reels, the stilted attempts at offensive humor leave a taste as sour as the onscreen vomit during an interminable gag involving paella. The title, which translates as “Their Moral Code … and Ours,” is as subtle as the pic’s candy-colored costumes.

Leur morale … et la notre

France

Production

A Gaumont release of a Gaumont, F Comme Film, France 2 Cinema production, in association with Les Soficas SGAM AI - Cinema 1, Uni Etoile 5, with participation of Canal Plus, TPS Star. (International sales: Gaumont, Paris.) Produced by Jean-Louis Livi. Directed by Florence Quentin. Screenplay, Quentin, Alexis Quentin.

Crew

Camera (color), Pascal Gennesseaux; editor, Jennifer Auge; music, Jean-Claude Vannier; production designer, Katia Wyszkop; costume designer, Jackie Budin-Whitfield. Reviewed at UGC Cine Cite Les Halles 13, Paris, Aug. 28, 2008. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Andre Dussollier, Victoria Abril, Samir Guesmi, Micha Lescot, Francoise Bertin.
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