French Twist (Josiane Balasko)

Rating: ** (out of ****)

I think I'll let Matt Groening review this film for me, by citing his uncannily incisive summation of Cinema's Greatest Paradox: the French are funny; sex is funny; and comedies are funny -- yet no French sex comedy is funny! French Twist worked best for me when it wasn't trying to be funny; when it was, which was most of the time, I was more likely to wince than to laugh. As I noted in my review of Grosse Fatigue last year, the Gallic sense of humor simply doesn't appeal to me; I find it too broad and self-consciously wacky. To Balasko's credit, this film has a few subtle moments, and there were at least two occasions on which I was pleasantly surprised when what seemed to be obligatory scenes were omitted; still, much of it was a trial. Victoria Abril, as usual, is very engaging, and very nude, throughout.