Saturday, February 22, 2014

Girl on a Bicycle (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Girl on a Bicycle

Jeremy Leven (The Notebook) tries his hand at French romantic comedy and comes up with some gloppy  pommes frites. "Girl on a Bicycle" is more of a pastiche than a  film, with lots of silly scenes that don't make much sense and ultimately tax your patience.

Paolo (Vincento Amato) is a Paris tour guide in the style of an Alberto Benigni character who blandly scoffs at Paris architecture. He goes around and around the city and doesn't seem to like his job (or maybe this  film) very much.

The jokes are few.

He is about to be engaged to a German flight attendant Greta (Nora Tschirner) who is likable enough, but Paulo is all of a mess when he attempts to propose. Somehow, for reasons that confound me, they  decide to forgo the romantic dinner and order pizza and play home video games.

On tour duty, Paolo spies the eye of Cecile, the girl on the bicycle (Louise Monot)

They share some soupy smiles with Cecile even waving her hand and her hair in slow motion in the style of a shampoo commercial.

Even though there is no reason for Paolo to have roaming eyes, he can't seem to get the girl out of his psychological hair, and in one ridiculous scene, he waves in front of Greta when they are engaged in sex.

Cecile is a model who does commercials and she gets fired for dropping soap in a tub.  The irksome soap ends up hitting the director in the nose, making it bloody.

Paulo again sees Cecile but can't manage to open a door and speak  clearly. He follows her in pursuit and finally drives into her.

At the hospital, he is assumed to be the hubby and is given responsibility of the adorable kids and of being nurse to Cecile.  The kids don't ask questions as they need a father and much running time is used up with Paulo sneaking out at odd hours and being "Mr. Mom."

These scenes grow tedious, bogging the film down, thrown up as fluffy echoes from countless other films.

In one scene, Cecile drops to the floor, attempting a bathroom entrance. In another, she gets on a moped and inexplicably, in the manner of "Laurel and Hardy" or  "The Money Pit" gets propelled from an upstairs window only to get bounced from an awning and put into the arms of one boozy paramour.

This is the romantic equivalent  of a truck hitting a fruit stand, killing any comic charm.

The biggest flaw though is that these characters are themselves uninspired and offhand, sketched without much mystery or spirit, half fleshed from other stories. Celine is drawn from "Amelie," Paulo from "Life is Beautiful" and we have a sloppy, ne'er do well slacker from the roles of Steve Coogan.

The camera is picturesque at times, but aside from the Arc de Triomphe, there is not much of Paris to see here.

Granted "Girl on a Bicycle" is an attempt to recapture the fluff of the 50s, be it Audrey Hepburn, perhaps, or the farces of Rock Hudson and Doris Day, but even the most trifling of comedies don't play off as unfunny as the ones here.

Many midnights (and even afternoons) in Paris have fared so much better.

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