The Lead Balloon Film Festival has a perfect gala opener in “People: Jet Set 2,” a distressingly tepid follow-up to 2000’s deservedly popular hit (more than 1.8 admissions in Gaul) in which the common man matched wits with the Beautiful People. Current effort, also helmed by Fabien Onteniente, is cause for consternation across the board. Superficial glamour worship and stagy scenes of petulant behavior in which straight French thesps camp it up do not a comedy make. Local reception since release May 19 has been lukewarm.
Party planner and authentic blueblood Charles de Poulignac (Rupert Everett) is the go-to guy for classy product launches and celeb weddings until his rival, Cyril Legall (Elie Semoun, in an Adolph Hitler hair-do), plays a status-erasing trick on him. Snubbed by his former clientele, and persona non grata in Paris, Charles flies to Ibiza in hopes of pacting with John-John (a newly slim Jose Garcia), king of the island’s over-the-top nightlife.
Charles’ blazer-and-ascot persona cuts no ice with John-John’s flamboyant, tanned and muscled crowd until Charles’ old pal, Afrodita (Ornella Muti, looking silken, shapely and near-ageless), introduces him. John-John’s household of sycophants and pill-poppers includes Pilar (Rossy De Palma) and live-in personal trainer Branco (Patrice Cols). Latter’s chiseled abs probably required almost as much effort as the scenes of hundreds of frenzied extras gyrating in Ibiza’s stadium-sized clubs.
Charles plans to regain his credibility by organizing a must-attend wedding between John-John and Branco. However, this is jeopardized by Cyril’s plan to launch Ibiza perfume on location on the same date.
Script has exactly three good ideas, all insufficiently developed: casting the comparably handsome and equally dorkified Lambert Wilson as Charles’ cousin (Wilson was an insouciant cornerstone of first pic); forcing a celeb showdown between the perfume launch and the wedding; and a visit to a “de-jetset-ification” clinic in Gstaad, where nightlife addicts learn to stand in line like normal folks and go cold turkey on champagne.
Made up and coifed to deliberate disadvantage, Everett, speaking gracious French, does the best with a mostly thankless role. Despite frantic efforts to evoke a non-stop party atmosphere laced with sex, most of the story evolves in an unflatteringly-lit realm of dead air and stale wit.