Vet cineaste Jacques Doillon’s films (“Raja,” “Ponette”) have occasionally featured bizarre love triangles and sexual tensions, but his oeuvre reaches new heights of faux-kinky gobbledygook in the low-budget chamber piece “The Three-Way Wedding.” With a pitch that could have provoked untold laughter in the hands of a Larry David, pic somberly reveals the ego-tripping, backstabbing and, well, butt-slapping that occurs when two thesps spend a day at the country home of a misanthropic playwright. What ensues is far from enjoyable, and adequate perfs won’t carry Doillon’s pretentious banter further than French ears.
Part of what lent credibility to the helmer’s previous pics was their setting among semi-realistic adolescent characters. Here, we’re stuck with a tortured writer, August (Pascal Greggory), whose pontificating about his own brilliance is no worse than the masochistic frolicking of ex-wife Harriet (Julie Depardieu) and her latest beau (Louis Garrel). Throw in a waiflike secretary (Agathe Bonitzer) who readily sheds her clothes, and you’re left with a tedious passion play that’s as classy as August shouting “Show me your ass!” before he gives Harriet a light smacking. Overlit lensing by Caroline Champetier is not her best.