Trilogy 2: An Amazing Couple
Un couple épatant
review by Nicholas Schrager, 5 December 2003  

The nicest thing one can say about An Amazing Couple (Un couple épatant), the second entry in Lucas Belvaux’s triptych of genre films The Trilogy, is that it’s slightly less insufferable than the series’ first film, the self-conscious and inert thriller, On the Run. A romantic comedy that exhibits not a shred of romance and only a faint glimmer of comedy, An Amazing Couple is further proof that Mr. Belvaux knows what a genre is but has little idea of how to replicate its distinct pleasures. Leaden and insipid, the film aspires to farce but is incapable of working itself into a lather of ludicrousness. Instead, it’s content to dryly mine its flimsy premise – concerning the problems that arise from one married couple’s paranoia, confusion, and miscommunication – for a few meager chuckles. It’s like an episode of Three’s Company re-envisioned by a second-rate Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), but without any of the humor (intentional or otherwise) one would expect from such a union.

Alain (François Morel) is a hypochondriac about to undergo a routine operation, but his fear of death is so profound that he keeps news of the upcoming procedure hidden from his loving wife Cécile (Ornella Muti) and continually recites his will into a portable tape recorder. Puzzled by Alain’s erratic behavior, Cécile hires Pascal (Gilbert Melki), the police officer husband of her friend and co-worker Agnès (Dominique Blanc), to tail her spouse and discover whether or not he’s having an affair. Alain, meanwhile, entangles himself in a series of white lies in order to prevent his wife from learning about the operation, presumably because he doesn’t want her to know about his impending demise (which, his doctor repeatedly reassures him, is not about to occur). Pascal, who as we know from On the Run procures drugs for his junkie wife, falls in love with Cécile, while Cécile slowly begins to suspect that Agnès is Alain’s extramarital paramour.

And so on and so on. Lies and misunderstandings pile on top of one another at a swift rate, many involving a gang of peripheral characters and subplots from the trilogy’s other two installments, until the spiraling vortex of narrative nonsense nearly causes the film to implode. Just as On the Run had no grasp of the spirit or basic tenets of film noir, An Amazing Couple seems oblivious to the jaunty irreverence and zaniness necessitated by farcical romance. Belvaux rotates the camera around his performers in a vain attempt to bestow the action with some energy, and gives each character an orchestral theme that unsubtly signifies their emotional state. The end result of such clumsily handled devices is a film that plods along with all the verve of a narcoleptic slug. Jokes appear and disappear without warning as the film veers sharply from humor to melodramatic romance, and figuring out when to laugh and when to be moved by these lifeless shenanigans is an interminable chore. Belvaux has a limited visual imagination – his compositions are uniformly flat and workmanlike – and a directorial somberness that prevents An Amazing Couple from ever getting within view of a much-needed comedic crescendo. Belvaux clearly thinks otherwise, but most will likely find this excruciating married couple and their limp hijinks far from amazing.

Written and
Directed by:

Lucas Belvaux

Catherine Frot
Lucas Belvaux
Dominique Blanc
Ornella Muti
Gilbert Melki
Yves Claessens
Olivier Darimont
Patrick Descamps
Christine Henkart
Herve Livet
Alexis Tomassian

NR - Not Rated
This film has not
been rated..






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