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Le Divorce (2003)

Everything sounds sexier in French

Directed by:

James Ivory

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 112 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States, France

Simply put, ‘Le Divorce’ (I’m no master linguist, but I’m guessing that’s French for “the divorce”) is a film that just doesn’t get anything right. It’s a drama, but the characters are too hollow and half-hearted to make you care about them. It’s a romance, but nobody seems to be romantic. It’s a comedy, but it’s not funny. And then there’s the plot. Oh dear, the plot. A load of – and pardon my French – dull, repetitive, meandering bollocks. Or “Le Bollocks” as some might be inclined to put it.

Based on Diane Johnson’s novel of the same name, the film is the tale of Roxeanne and Isabel (Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson), two American sisters in Paris. Roxeanne is preggers, but with her philandering hubby Charles-Henri (Melvil Poupaud) having left her for Magda the Russian nut-job (Rona Hartner), it’s up to Isabel (or “Easy Knickers” as you might find yourself calling her) to lend a bit of moral support.

To cut an exasperatingly long story short, the soon-to-be-divorced pair squabble over the ownership of a family painting, Isabel has a spot of rumpy-pumpy with a rich politician (Thierry Lhermitte), and a horrendously-cast Matthew Modine runs about in the background stealing people’s umbrellas. Stephen Fry provides a bit of much-needed light relief with a brief appearance as an art buff, but that one positive is cancelled out by the negative of Glenn Close looking an absolute state with long witch-like hair and contributing very little (honestly, she looks more like Cruella De Vil here than she did when she was actually playing her).

If ‘Le Divorce’ proves anything, it’s that boredom is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. It runs at just under two hours, but feels like it’s at least double that. There’s nothing to capture the interest, ignite the imagination, or even just provoke the smallest of smiles.

It’s highly possible that you could watch all of this without even noticing that it’s actually intended to be a comedy. It’s not that the laughs here are subtle – it’s purely that they don’t exist. In fact, so painfully bland is the whole thing that I found myself longing for Gerard Depardieu to walk in and fall over something. It really is that bad.

It's Got: A couple of lead roles that were originally meant for Winona Ryder and Natalie Portman. A lucky escape for those two, then.

It Needs: To be shown only to the French – when they’ve been bad.

DVD Extras “Rien” (hey – I’m getting better at this French lark!). DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Alternatives:

An American In Paris

Summary

Tres crappy.

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