×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fly Me to the Moon

Another high-concept romantic comedy from "Heartbreaker" helmer Pascal Chaumeil, this good-looking but structurally problematic pic trots the globe as Diane Kruger tries to convince travel writer Dany Boon to wed and subsequently divorce her so she can safely marry her actual dreamboat.

With:
With: Diane Kruger, Dany Boon, Alice Pol, Robert Plagnol, Jonathan Cohen, Bernadette Le Sache, Etienne Chicot, Laure Calamy, Malonn Levana, Laure Calamy. (French, English, Russian dialogue)

Aware that her femme relatives all endured lousy marriages before tying the knot with Mr. Right, a Frenchwoman decides to preemptively marry an idiot for a day in “Fly Me to the Moon,” Gallic filmmaker Pascal Chaumeil’s follow-up to his breakout hit “Heartbreaker.” Another high-concept romantic comedy, this good-looking but structurally problematic pic trots the globe as Diane Kruger tries to convince travel writer Dany Boon to wed and subsequently divorce her so she can safely marry her actual dreamboat. Gallic B.O. should be decent if not sky-high; non-Francophone potential lies more in the remake arena.

Pic feels like a variation on last year’s French laffer “Second Chance,” in which a man realizes he’s a bad-luck charm for the women he dates. Like that film, “Moon” has a curse conceit that auds will have to buy into, though here screenwriters Yoann Gromb and Laurent Zeitoun (both “Heartbreaker” alums), working with co-scribe Beatrice Fournera, niftily present their yarn as a potentially tall tale told at a dinner party.

The story is recounted by Corinne (Alice Pol) to cheer up Valerie (Laure Calamy), a middle-aged crybaby who’s just been dumped. Protag of the story-within-the-story is Corinne’s dentist sister, Isabelle (Kruger), who’s madly in love with the almost too-perfect Pierre (Robert Plagnol), with whom she shares a dentistry practice. But since the women in her Franco-German family have for generations been unlucky in their first marriages, Isabelle is afraid to walk down the aisle with Pierre, so she ends up accepting Corinne’s suggestion to marry just anyone to get rid of the curse, quickly divorce and then live happily ever after.

After a botched attempt in Denmark, Isabelle convinces herself the simpleton sitting next her on the plane, guidebook writer Jean-Yves (Boon, “Welcome to the Sticks”), should do the trick. In order to achieve her goal, she follows the self-absorbed Jean-Yves to Kenya, where the improbable duo get into a lot of screwball-territory trouble that includes falling into pools, eating scary local foodstuffs and, in an imposingly convincing sequence, facing a lion on a trip to Kilimanjaro. Their Massai wedding delivers a halfway happy ending of sorts.

But back in Paris, there’s more trouble in store, as Jean-Yves has no intention of letting his newfound spouse go and has officially registered their marriage in France, just a month before Isabelle’s set to say “I do” to Pierre, who’s blissfully unaware of his bride-to-be’s actions. This results in a trip to Jean-Yves’ dingy home in Moscow, where the ditzy dentist tries to play the wife from hell in order to get Jean-Yves to agree to a divorce.

Kruger is so at ease here, it’s a mystery that she’s never been cast as a romantic-comedy lead before. Displaying exactly the right kind of lovable sincerity that justifies her character’s occasionally crass actions, the actress is not afraid to look ridiculous, yet she’s also down-to-earth enough to give her character a real edge. The same can’t always be said of the more mannered, overly broad Boon (who co-starred with Kruger in “Merry Christmas”), although his grimacing ways are perfectly suited to a hilarious setpiece in which Jean-Yves visits Isabelle at work.

The couple’s chemistry is persuasive, especially in the crucial second half, and Chaumeil again demonstrates a keen eye for balancing character and situational comedy against a glamorous backdrop. That the film itself doesn’t entirely convince is mainly due to a structural flaw: Genre conventions demand that Isabelle and Jean-Yves fall for each other despite their differences, which paints the story’s supposed Mr. Right, Pierre, into a corner, forcing the screenplay to jump through several ill-motivated hoops to solve this problem. That said, the pic’s church-set finale impressively brings together many earlier elements without resorting to wedding-themed chestnuts.

Ace d.p. Glynn Speeckaert, working in slick widescreen, delivers sophisticated work that’s not only in tune with the multiple locales but always in service of the comedy; ditto the production design and costumes. Klaus Badelt’s score is supportive if generic, and special effects are seamlessly integrated, as could be expected for a big-budget (for France) production from Quad, the company behind not only “Heartbreaker” but also “The Intouchables.”

Popular on Variety

Fly Me to the Moon

France-Belgium

Production: A Universal Pictures Intl. France release of a Quad presentation of a Quad, TF1 Films Prod., Scope Pictures, Les Prods. du Ch'timi, Chaocorp Distribution, Yeardawn production, in association with Universal Pictures Intl. France, with the participation of Orange Cinema Series, Cine Plus, TF1. (International sales: Kinology, Paris.) Produced by Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou, Laurent Zeitoun. Directed by Pascal Chaumeil. Screenplay, Laurent Zeitoun, Yoann Gromb, Beatrice Fournera, based on an idea by Philippe Mechelen.

Crew: Camera (color, Panavision widescreen), Glynn Speeckaert; editor, Dorian Rigal-Ansous; music, Klaus Badelt; production designer, Herve Gallet; costume designer, Veronique Perier; sound (Dolby Digital), Julien Sicart; special effects, Digital District, Benuts; special effects supervisor, David Danesi; assistant director, Frederic Drouilhat; casting, Tatiana Viale. Reviewed at UGC Cine Cite Les Halles, Paris, Nov. 1, 2012. Running time: 104 MIN.

With: With: Diane Kruger, Dany Boon, Alice Pol, Robert Plagnol, Jonathan Cohen, Bernadette Le Sache, Etienne Chicot, Laure Calamy, Malonn Levana, Laure Calamy. (French, English, Russian dialogue)

More Film

  • Joker Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

    Box Office: Villains Face Off Again as 'Joker' and 'Maleficent' Battle for First Place

    Despite three new nationwide releases, domestic box office charts look to be dominated by holdovers — Warner Bros.’ “Joker” and Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” — during the last weekend in October. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted last weekend with $36 million in North America, enough to dethrone “Joker” after the super-villain origin story’s back-to-back [...]

  • Yasushi Shiina

    Tokyo Market is Finding New Strengths, Says Yasushi Shiina

    Clouds on the global economic horizon and disruption to the scheduling of the event, have done little to dampen the interest of foreign visitors to TIFFCOM, Japan’s biggest film and TV market. Especially those from China, says market head, Yasushi Shiina. The market is again running at the Sunshine City shopping, entertainment and business complex [...]

  • "Weathering With You" directed by Makoto

    Toho Unveils Dual Media Romance 'Love Me, Love Me Not' at Tokyo Market

    Japan’s biggest film company, which produces, distributes and exhibits its own product in partnership with leading media companies, Toho has brought a line-up to TIFFCOM full of present and future hits. The biggest is “Weathering with You,” the love story animation by Makoto Shinkai that surpassed the $100 million mark only a month after its [...]

  • Hit Me Anyone One More Time

    TIFFCOM: Pony Canyon Saddles up FujiTV's Smash 'Hit Me Anyone'

    One of Japan’s five major broadcast networks, Fuji TV has also been a pioneer and leader among the networks in feature film production. This year at TIFFCOM long-time partner Pony Canyon is representing Fuji TV films that have recently hit number one at the Japanese box office. Among the hottest, with three straight weeks atop [...]

  • Martin Scorsese Avengers

    Are Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola Right About Marvel? (Column)

    If you want to shoot holes in the comments that Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola made recently about Marvel movies (Scorsese: “That’s not cinema”; Coppola: “Martin was being kind when he said it wasn’t cinema. He didn’t say it was despicable, which is what I say”), then go right ahead, because they’ve practically handed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content