You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Au Pair

Idiotic in the extreme, "Au Pair" gives its nanny heroine the full Harlequin Romance treatment, effectively bumping it out of fest and arthouse circuits. Still, it boasts the salable combo of snazzy leads, glossy lensing and a hooky premise. Look for a long life in vid rentals and dub-happy Euro webs.

Idiotic in the extreme, “Au Pair” gives its nanny heroine the full Harlequin Romance treatment, effectively bumping it out of fest and arthouse circuits. Still, it boasts the salable combo of snazzy leads, glossy lensing and a hooky premise. Look for a long life in vid rentals and dub-happy Euro webs.

Opening scenes in Wales detail the disaffection of 17-year-old Susan (Clare Woodgate) with her quiet seaside village, busy veterinarian mom and loutish b.f. (Justin Chadwick). Learning of a job in Germany, Susan goes Continental, and the rest takes place in a Munich where no one (except lowly workers) speaks German. Nominally looking after the oddly voiceless child of narcissistic TV executive Barbara (Elizabeth Schofield) and dorky architect Ivo (Dale Ripley), the Welsh lass tumbles for Barbara’s “assistant,” Walter, a cold-fish cad whose job appears to consist of smoking cigarettes and taking off his sunglasses just so.

Susan and the others fall in and out of “love,” but they all remain ciphers, with relentless soap-opera music to pump up unearned emotions (minor-key synths drone even when characters order coffee). Chadwick makes the best impression: His adolescent rock-singer role is written as a working-class buffoon, but he provides the only discernible heart. Schofield is simply awful, with flat Sandra Bernhard mannerisms grating against a supposedly elegant role.

It’s a creaky bodice-ripper in which no bodices are ever ripped, but the pic is slickly shot. And Woodgate’s pretty, pudgy face is a conveniently blank screen upon which unformed adolescent minds can project vague stirrings without the intrusion of pesky reality or modern politics.

Au Pair


Production: An Angelika Films release of a Hermes Film GmbH (Munich) production, for Bayerischer Rudfunk and Teliesyn, Wales. Produced by Angelika Weber, Thomas Hernadi. Directed by Weber. Screenplay, Hernadi, Greg Dinner.

Crew: Camera (color) Marian Sloboda; editor, Alexander Rupp; music, Gerhard Daum; sound, David Heinemann. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (non-competing), Sept. 1, 1994. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Clare Woodgate, Justin Chadwick, Elizabeth Schofield, Karl Tessler, Dale Rapley, Anna Nieland, Wilke Durant, Myriam Weber.

More Film

  • Woolsey Fire Malibu

    Many Malibu Areas Still Off-Limits for Filming After Fire

    The California Film Commission has maintained its ban on filming in several Malibu areas hit by the massive Woolsey fire in Southern California last month. The commission announced Tuesday that due to continued clean-up and repair work along Pacific Coast Highway, permits for filming on the highway are not being issued at this time. PCH [...]

  • Against the Clock

    Film News Roundup: Andy Garcia's Spy Thriller 'Against the Clock' Bought by Gravitas

    In today’s film news roundup, Andy Garcia’s spy thriller is sold, “Battlestar Galactica” gets a screenwriter, and Brooklyn Decker gets an award. ACQUISITION Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to spy thriller “Against the Clock,” starring Andy Garcia, Dianna Agron (“Glee”), and Justin Bartha, Variety has learned exclusively. The film, formerly titled “Headlock,” is [...]

  • 'Pacific Rim Uprising' film premiere

    John Boyega in Talks to Star in Legal Drama 'A Naked Singularity'

    “Star Wars” actor John Boyega is in talks to star in the legal drama “A Naked Singularity” with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions on board to produce. The movie is based on Sergio De La Pava’s debut novel, which centers on a successful New York public defender whose life begins to unravel after he loses [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Outpacing 'Wonder Woman' in Fandango Pre-Sales

    Pre-sales of “Aquaman,” which opens on Thursday night, are outpacing “Wonder Woman” at the same point in the advance ticket sales cycle on online ticketer Fandango. “Wonder Woman” opened with $103 million domestically during the June 2 to June 4, 2017, weekend on its way to a $412 million North American total for Warner Bros. “Aquaman,” [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

  • Box Office: 'Aquaman,' 'Mary Poppins Returns'

    Box Office: 'Aquaman' Battles 'Mary Poppins Returns' in Crowded Holiday Weekend

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most competitive time at the multiplexes. This weekend sees two very different heroes vying for the box office crown with “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” both eyeing sizable debuts. “Mary Poppins Returns” is getting a head start by opening on Wednesday, though estimates show “Aquaman” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content