Review: The Brats

16:00, Mar 14 2014
The impending nuptials of Lola (Melanie Bernier) and Thomas (Max Boublil) are threatened by the bad behaviour of her father.

Meeting your prospective father-in-law is always a nerve-wracking experience, but it results in far-reaching consequences for Thomas Brenner (Max Boublil).

The wedding singer’s charms might have swayed his daughter and humanitarian wife (Sandrine Kiberlain), but not this ennui-shrouded early retiree Gilbert (Alain Chabat). That is until a reluctant trip together to the local supermarket results in an extended wine-tasting session where marital disatisfactions are revealed.

Soon the pair are driving 10 miles for weed and a pizza and bonding over a mutual love of Iggy Pop. Such antics inspire Gilbert to pack his bags and take over his daughter’s old student apart. Pretty soon he’s spending her inheritance on wine, women and song and ringing up Thomas for successive nights on the town. But in trying to keep her father’s midlife crisis a secret, Thomas has raised her suspicions that he’s cheating on her.

Co-written with rising star Boublil, director Anthony Marciano’s amiable comedy is a fun but formulaic tale which offers easy laughs and sketchy characters. With a Richard Gere-esque elder lead in Chabat (Mood Indigo) teamed up with a young hip singer-comedian, The Brats seems ripe for a Hollywood remake. Indeed there are already American elements present and correct not only in the baby boomer behaving badly conceit but also the English language soundtrack (including covers of Pink and Alphaville hits) and a stunt cameo (here it’s an awkward looking Iggy Pop). However, there are some distinctly Gallic foibles still on show, most notably the lovers’ sense of humour, a slightly surreal comical Iranian diplomat and less than conventional handsome male leads. Brash, bratty but sadly barely memorable the next day.

The Brats opens in New Zealand cinemas on Thursday.


Fairfax Media