At first seeming merely obnoxious, the 20-year-old title characters of “Chicks” grow in stature over the course of what is essentially one long, booze-fueled party. French director Sophie Letourneur’s mildly comic, documentary-like debut feature observes a half-dozen Parisian university students as they hang out, hook up, drink and smoke, dance, giggle and gab about bad breath, boys, “organic” cocktails and, occasionally, homework. Aided by the natural talent of non-pro thesps and Letourneur’s thrillingly uncommon disregard for narrative, “Chicks” is hugely realistic but rarely if ever engrossing, making for a solid fest curio rather than a viably commercial import.“Chicks” wiles away most of its time at the so-called Ranch, a Left Bank flat shared by gal pals Manon (Mahault Mollaret), Lola (Eulalie Juster), and Pam (Sarah-Jane Sauvegrain). By default, the pic’s action has Lola pulling a muscle in her neck, meeting a hip Berliner named Fritz (Bjorn Frederik Nordin), and eventually realizing she’s still in love with her ex-beau. Aside from the impending death of Pam’s grandma, the characters’ biggest problems are hangovers. The film’s handheld camerawork is matched by an equally loose attitude toward its perpetually frivolous heroines.
An Ecce Films, Rezina production, in association with Cinemage 3, Cofinova 5, with the participation of Cinecinema. Produced by Bernard Tanguy. Executive producer, Emmanuel Chaumet. Directed by Sophie Letourneur. Screenplay, Letourneur, Delphine Agut.
Camera (color), Claire Mathon, Tom Harari; editor, Michel Klochendler; music, Maxence Cyrin, Benjamin Siksou, Siegfried Jegard. Reviewed on DVD, Vancouver, Oct. 11, 2010. (In Vancouver Film Festival.) Running time: 92 MIN.
Sarah-Jane Sauvegrain, Eulalie Juster, Mahault Mollaret, Benjamin Siksou, Bjorn Frederik Nordin. (French, English dialogue)