French-Canadian sex dramedy "The 3 Little Pigs" offers a guaranteed solution to age-old hardships like financial woes, marital quarrels, and terminal illness: It's "Adultery, Actually."

French-Canadian sex dramedy “The 3 Little Pigs” offers a guaranteed solution to age-old hardships like financial woes, marital quarrels, and terminal illness: It’s “Adultery, Actually.” Raunchy debut feature from Quebecois comic star Patrick Huard depicts — with near-softcore detail in certain scenes — the multifold bedroom habits of three married bros who can’t stop jonesing to cheat on their wives, especially while mom is in a coma. Catchy thesping and some genuine laughs helped pic become Canada’s No. 1 homegrown grosser in 2007. Overseas, “Pigs” will probably find its most comfortable sty on latenight cable.

While the groundbreaking success of France’s “Welcome to the Sticks” (now the second all-time theatrical scorer in Gaul) can perhaps be explained by its clever, reconciliatory take on northern and southern stereotypes, it’s more difficult to understand why the philandering-happy protags of “Pigs” seduced so many Canucks last year. Regardless, pic earned nearly $5 million locally, winning the Golden Reel award for top annual B.O.

Crisscrossing narrative tracks three thirtysomething brothers keeping watch over their comatose mother (France Castel), whose hospital room becomes the perfect spot to gossip about their ongoing or upcoming extramarital affairs.

Early reels follow middle child Mathieu (Claude Legault), an unhappy taxman literally drooling over his looker colleague (Mahee Paiement), who seems like the best answer to his troubled marriage to bright store-owner Genevieve (Isabel Richer). When the affair finally takes off — prompting lengthy lovemaking scenes — Mathieu seems less plagued by guilt than by his failure to adequately cover his tracks.

Middle section shifts focus to the sporty Christian (Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge), who envies Mathieu’s sexual audacity, especially since the only affair he’s having is with his growing porn collection. He courageously takes matters in hand by seducing one of his karate students (Marie-Helene Gendreau), but his copper wife (Julie Perreault) catches him in the act.

After being banned from their respective homes, Mathieu and Christian take refuge with the archetypal Remi (Paul Doucet), who has a steady marriage and plenty of moralizing advice for his younger siblings. Yet when his take-charge spouse Dominique (Sophie Pregent) heads for the country, Remi’s unexpected secret surfaces.

Tight script by first-timers Pierre Lamothe and Claude Lalonde adequately links together the different storylines. Extra-polished helming by Huard tends to overshoot sequences that could have benefited from less fluff.

There’s plenty of exhaustive chitchat about masturbation and fornication, though the jokes aren’t nearly as edgy as those in the comedies of Judd Apatow or the Farrelly brothers. Funniest scenes involve botched efforts at getting off without getting caught.

Tech package is expensive-looking without being distinguished. Soundtrack features Quebecois pop music, including an original song by folk rocker Pascale Picard.

Print caught in Paris was subtitled in French for two-thirds of its length to make the Quebecois dialogue comprehensible to auds.

The 3 Little Pigs

Canada

Production

A TFM Distribution (in France)/Christal Films (in Canada) release of a Zoofilms production. (International sales: Christal, Montreal.) Produced by Pierre Gendron, Christian Larouche. Directed by Patrick Huard. Screenplay, Pierre Lamothe, Claude Lalonde.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Bernard Couture; editor, Jean-Francois Bergeron; music, Stephane Dufour; production designer, Gilles Aird; costume designer, Monic Ferland; sound (Dolby Digital), Simon Poudrette, Christian Rivest, Gavin Fernandes; assistant director, Sylvie Perron; casting, Lucie Robitaille. Reviewed at UGC Cine Cite Les Halles 15, Paris, Aug. 16, 2008. Running time: 124 MIN.

With

Claude Legault, Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge, Paul Doucet, France Castel, Sophie Pregent, Julie Perreault, Isabel Richer, Mahee Paiement, Maxim Gaudette, Marie-Helene Gendreau. (French dialogue)
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