Up For Love

Directed by Laurent Tirard

Starring Jean Dujardin and Virginie Efira
In UK Cinemas August 5th, 2016

by Haresh Patel

The French have a prolific rom-com industry. The uniquely national take on it can throw up some lovely and unexpected surprises as much as it can feel like a factory of the same paint-by-numbers churning of content after content. It’s hard to stand out in such a saturated market, and Laurent Tirard’s current offering Up For Love does its best to add some gimmick to the genre.

The story is a classic woman meets man, the twist being that one is not quite what the other expected, and awkward amusement ensues. Jean Dujardin, of The Artist fame, is a vibrantly written and well performed character of small but big but small but big dimensions, who finds and returns the mobile phone of Virginie Efira‘s character Diane, a lawyer in control but with a personal life falling apart.

The traditional courtship shenanigans take on a bit more of an edge when it briefly touches its subtext of dealing with prejudice, assumption and social acceptance, and these brief touches are the best narrative bits of the film. But the need for unbearable lightness and sweetness always come back to prevent any further discussion. All the classic moments are here, awkward family dinner, wacky driving, the teary split-up-montage, the zany first date.

The central trick of the film is very well crafted. The seamless CGI work is rather well done, camerawork expertly delivered and so on, but the central trick also adds a difficult wall of separation that prevents any real and realistic onscreen chemistry. You have to be pretty forgiving to see beyond the technically marvelous means of production and fill in the character’s conviction. It must have been very hard for the eminently experienced actors to really connect.

Still, Up For Love is a smooth, well made French rom-com, and who doesn’t need a little bit of that in their life every so often.



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