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Ugly Melanie

Mildly revolting but far from satisfyingly so, "Ugly Melanie" is the kind of comedy where you can see the jokes coming from miles away and watch them burn out by the time they reach the screen.

Cast:
With: Marilou Berry, Frederique Bel, Pierre Francois Martin-Laval, Josephine de Meaux, Thomas Ngijol, Chantal Lauby, Alice Pol, Gil Alma, Liliane Rovere, Charles Meurisse.

Mildly revolting but far from satisfyingly so, “Ugly Melanie” is the kind of comedy where you can see the jokes coming from miles away and watch them burn out by the time they reach the screen. Helming debut of scripters Jean-Patrick Benes and Allan Mauduit, who penned the much funnier “Vampire Party,” is a rude reverse take on 2001 Gallic hit “Amelie,” swapping the quirky do-gooder for an unsightly meanie who serves up hell to her customers, friends, family and neighbors. Nov. 12 local release opened fair, but overseas prospects beyond French film weeks and fests remain unattractive.

In a world where good looks and thin waistlines take precedence over generosity, the overweight and unappealing Melanie (Marilou Berry) receives little gratitude for her kindness. When uber-blonde cousin Aurore (Frederique Bel) tricks her into thinking she has a Valentine’s Day sweetheart, the crushed Melanie launches a revenge scheme, wreaking havoc at the auto rest stop where she works, playing malicious pranks on her entourage and torturing several innocent pets. Tech package is sturdy, but adds little weight to the trite screenplay, which probably would have played better as a short.

Ugly Melanie

France

Production: An SND release of a Kare Prods., SND, M6 Films production, with participation of M6, TPS Star, CineCinema. (International sales: SND, Paris.) Produced by Antoine Rein, Fabrice Goldstein. Directed, written by Jean-Patrick Benes, Allan Mauduit.

Crew: Camera (color), Regis Blondeau; editor, Antoine Vareille; music, Christophe Julien; production designer, Jean-Marc Tran Tan Ba; costume designer, Pierre Canitrot. Reviewed at UGC Cine Cite Les Halles 1, Paris, Nov. 13, 2008. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Marilou Berry, Frederique Bel, Pierre Francois Martin-Laval, Josephine de Meaux, Thomas Ngijol, Chantal Lauby, Alice Pol, Gil Alma, Liliane Rovere, Charles Meurisse.

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