The term “stillborn” overpraises “Lovely Rita: Patron Saint of Lost Causes,” a comedy so strained the film seems to herniate in the projector. An arbitrary melding of several genres, caper pic squanders a game name cast on an art theft and revenge plot laced with vomit and urine gags. Though lensed with widescreen polish in Nice and Cannes, this is TV fodder at heart. Pic should be long gone from theaters by the time talented Austrian Jessica Hausner’s 2001 pic, “Lovely Rita,” gets a belated release in Gaul late October.
Film was co-written by and stars Gallic comedy staple Christian Clavier (“The Visitors,” TV’s “Napoleon”) and was helmed by his brother, Stephane. After assessing a Cote d’Azur firm at a lower presale value than wished for by its owner (Eddy Mitchell) and his pulpy but straitlaced financial director (Arielle Dombasle), accountant Edgar (Clavier) is drawn into disposing of a body with an Internet hooker, the eponymous Rita (Julie Gayet). Latter has stolen a priceless painting from a vindictive antiques dealer (Jean-Claude Dreyfus). Though the script is based on a book, it plays as if inspired by random flash cards.