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Cockles & Muscles (Crustaces & Coquillages) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/04/2006

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Enjoyable French farce enlivened by a sharp script, a couple of amusing musical numbers and some superb comic performances.

What’s it all about?
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi and Gilbert Melki star as Beatrix and Marc, a married couple who are holidaying on the Cote d’Azur in the house where Marc spent his youth. Also along for the vacation are their teenaged son Charly (Romain Torres) and their older daughter Laura (Sabrina Seyvecou), who quickly disappears with her biker boyfriend.

When Charly’s openly gay best friend Martin (Edouard Collin) arrives as usual, Beatrix and Marc begin to suspect that Charly might be gay, something that Charly is only too happy to play along with for wind-up purposes. However, it soon transpires that everyone is hiding something and it isn’t long before several secrets come tumbling out of the closet, frequently accompanied by a song and dance number.

The Good
The script is sharply written, brimming with witty lines and amusing running gags. It also cracks along at a lively pace, in the best farcical tradition. Why is it that the French are so much better at farce than we are?

The Great
Valerie Bruni-Tedeschi (who still looks like a Gallic Gillian Anderson) is superb here, giving a weirdly sexy, frequently distracted performance that works well. Melki is good too, pulling off a potentially difficult transformation and making it both believable and funny.

In addition, Romain Torres gives good sullen teenager and there’s strong comic support from Jean-Marc Barr as a plumber with a penchant for cruising. There are several great scenes and the musical numbers are used sparingly, to strong comic effect.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is a thoroughly enjoyable romp with superb comic performances and some interesting things to say about repression, friendship and family relationships. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 22/11/2014 21:10

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