×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ricky

Its eponymous protag may sprout wings, but "Ricky" never really takes flight.

With:
With: Alexandra Lamy, Sergi Lopez, Melusine Mayance, Arthur Peyret, Andre Wilms, Jean-Claude Bolle-Reddat.

Its eponymous protag may sprout wings, but Francois Ozon’s latest, “Ricky,” never really takes flight. Baffling tale of a baby who literally can’t wait to fly the parental nest starts off as a kitchen-sink drama before moving into an uneasy mix of comedy and the grotesque, with character development replaced by airborne action in the second half. Some might detect an elaborate parenthood metaphor, but most auds will simply shrug their shoulders. “Ricky” opens in Gaul Feb. 11 on the heels of its Berlinale preem, but is unlikely to make the trek across the Atlantic.

Though inspired, like Ozon’s previous pic, “Angel,” by an English literary work — in this case a Rose Tremain short story — “Ricky” has more in common with some of the helmer’s earliest efforts, including his feature debut, “Sitcom,” in which the arrival of a freaky newcomer (a rat) throws a family into disarray.

On a council estate in the Seine-et-Marne region, just east of Paris, single mom and factory worker Katie (Alexandra Lamy) has to be dragged out of bed by 7-year-old daughter Lisa (Melusine Mayance), who has effectively taken the role of the mother hen. Things change when Katie falls for a Spanish co-worker, Paco (Sergi Lopez), and they have a love child, Ricky (Arthur Peyret).

But suspicious marks on the baby’s back lead to false accusations, and Paco temporarily departs the household before the marks grow into wings. Screenplay toys with concepts of leaving, losing and letting go in a family context, but the ideas are upstaged by the freakshow aspects of pic’s second half. Ozon plays some of the practical problems the wings pose for the tot and his mother for laughs –what should he wear? how to keep an eye on him when he’s likely to fly off? — for laughs, but not without a disturbing undercurrent. Absent feathers, the wings give the baby an alien appearance rather than an angelic one.

But strangely enough, the parents never seem particularly fazed by their offspring’s extra appendages. Because Ozon doesn’t develop his characters once Ricky shows his true nature, the movie’s slightly overcooked working-class realism quickly morphs into a grotesque — and admittedly funny — story of a mutant baby. There’s almost no exploration of the psychological impact on Katie or the others, and a media frenzy that descends on the family likewise feels perfunctory. The film’s two halves feel almost mutually exclusive.

Lamy, better known in Gaul for her comedic roles, acquits herself admirably in a more dramatic turn (especially early on), and Lopez, so scary in “Pan’s Labyrinth,” is a warm yet temperamental presence here. But both thesps suffer from extremely underwritten parts. Little ones playing Lisa and Ricky are appropriately reactive and cute.

Jeanne Lapoirie’s lensing is functional, and the effects work is alright in context of pic’s modest aspirations. Score by Phillipe Rombi — one of the few men on the crew list — adds some fairy-tale gloss.

Ricky

France

Production: A Le Pacte release of a Eurowide and Foz presentation and production, in association with Teodora Film. (International sales: Le Pacte, Paris.) Produced by Claudie Ossard, Chris Bolzli. Co-producers, Cesare Petrillo, Vieri Razzini. Directed by Francois Ozon. Screenplay, Ozon, Emmanuele Bernheim, inspired by the short story "Moth" by Rose Tremain.

Crew: Camera (color), Jeanne Lapoirie; editor, Muriel Breton; music, Philippe Rombi; production designer, Katia Wyszkop; costume designer, Pascaline Chavanne; sound, (Dolby Digital/DTS), Brigitte Taillandier; visual effects supervisor, Georges Bouchelaghem; visual effects, BUF; special effects supervisor, Pascal Molina; assistant director, Hubert Barbin; casting, Sarah Teper, Leila Fournier. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (competing), Feb. 5, 2009. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Alexandra Lamy, Sergi Lopez, Melusine Mayance, Arthur Peyret, Andre Wilms, Jean-Claude Bolle-Reddat.

More Film

  • South Mountain

    Film Review: 'South Mountain'

    “South Mountain” joins the company of “Gloria Bell” and “Diane” as yet another 2019 drama intimately attuned to the literal and emotional plight of a middle-aged woman. In the case of Hilary Brougher’s incisive feature, the female in question is Lila (Talia Balsam), whose quiet life in upstate New York is destabilized by a continuing [...]

  • The Good Girls

    Shanghai Film Review: 'The Good Girls'

    The economy’s a mess but Sofía’s hair is perfect in Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls,” a film that is all surface in a way that is not, for once, a negative. The primped, powdered and shoulder-padded story of the fall from grace of a 1980s Mexican socialite is all about buffed and lustrous surfaces [...]

  • ‘Midsommar’ Traumatizes Early Audiences (Who Totally

    ‘Midsommar’ Traumatizes Early Audiences (But in a Good Way)

    Ari Aster can likely cross off “sophomore slump” from his list of many nightmares. Distributor A24 let loose the follow-up to the director’s widely praised, commercial hit debut “Hereditary” with two buzz screenings, which ran simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Response was almost unanimously positive, if not significantly rattled. “Holy [...]

  • Toy Story 4 Forky

    ‘Toy Story 4’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Disney Pixar claims the top spot in spending with “Toy Story 4.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.53 million through Sunday for 1,073 national ad airings on 38 networks. [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's 'Jiu Jitsu' Obtains Cyprus Support

    In today’s film news roundup, Cyprus is backing Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu”; “The Nanny” and “Amityville 1974” are moving forward; “Milk” is returning to theaters; and Garrett Hedlund’s “Burden” is getting distribution. CYPRUS REBATE Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu” has become the first international film to use Cyprus’ new tax credit-rebate program by filming entirely in [...]

  • Zhao Tao

    Zhao Tao Gets Candid in Kering's Shanghai Women in Motion Showcase Interview

    Zhao Tao is one of the most recognizable faces in Chinese art cinema thanks to her longtime collaboration with director Jia Zhangke, whom she married in 2012. From 2000’s “Platform” to last year’s “Ash is Purest White,” her work has plumbed the moral depths of modern China and brought stories of the country’s drastic change [...]

  • Skyline on the Huangpu River with

    Chinese-American Film Festival Seeks Particular Dialog

    With U.S.-China ties at an ever-sinking low, the Chinese-American Film and TV Festival on Tuesday pledged to improve communications between the two countries —  at a Chinese language-only press conference Tuesday that had few foreigners present. Most attendees who took to the stage to give congratulatory speeches that seemed more intent on heaping praise upon [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content