Dir/scr: Emmanuel Mouret. Fr. 2006. 85mins.
As light and frothy as a Feydeau farce, ChangeOf Address (Changement d'Adresse) is aParisian romantic comedy whose charm is all in its peppy performances and deft,old -school take on one of the oldest genres in the book. Halfway in tonebetween a Gallic take on the British CarryOn franchise and a more sophisticated Allen-esquecomedy of manners, the film provides 85 minutes of forgettable fun - acommodity that was in short supply at Cannes this year.
Butalthough it's a more commercial prospect than Mouret'slast, the teen love bubble Venus Et Fleur,this Directors' Fortnight title will not set foreign buyers on fire: it's tooresolutely French and dialogue-heavy. There is an outside chance, however, thatthe storyline may attract some remake interest. It opens in France on June 21.
Postcardsof Paris set the scene, and within two minutes we're fed the hook, as awkward,shy French horn player David (actor-director Mouret)sticks up an accommodation-wanted ad, and ends up only minutes later shacked upin a flat-share with Anne (Frederique Bel), a zesty but not over-cultured blonde who has her ownphotocopy shop. It's an open plan kind of flat, and flirtatious Anne at firstappears to be offering herself as part of the open plan; but when David makes amove on her she pulls away, shocked.
Shehas a boyfriend, she tells David, a guy who is a regular customer of hers -though she doesn't actually know his name yet. David too soon gets himself alove interest: serious, introverted Julia (Fanny Valette),a 19-year-old girl whose mother engages the musician to show her daughter howto play his instrument (such naive double entendres are very much in the spiritof the thing).
It'syet another twist on the best friend romantic comedy trope: the notion thatthere's no need to look far and wide for true love because it's right there infront of you. Any such exercise stands and falls on how inventively it delaysand complicates the inevitable conclusion, and Change Of Address keeps the twists and switchbacks coming at about the rightrate.
Thecomedy is at its most unfettered in the David-Anne scenes, in which the twogive each other advice on their respective affairs without realising that they'realready locked into the easy intimacy of a married couple. Mourethas a melancholy caricature of a face that's cut out for comedy, and Bel hits just the right tone of romantic vacuity in herportrayal of Anne.
Filmedconventionally, panning out between Anne's modern frou-frouflat, Julia's more antique-bourgeois pad and the streets and parks of suburbanParis, the film is saved from anonymity by snappy comic editing and some nicecomic set pieces - like the opening "would you like to see my horn'" scene (itplays better than it sounds).
Mozart'shorn concerto is an apt choice of soundtrack, but much of the rest of Franck Sforza's score is over-jolly, redundantly underscoring thehumour.
The classical music parallel recalls another contemporary French farce, Noemie Lvovsky's Les Sentiments; but Change Of Address is less mannered andaltogether more enjoyable.
Moby Dick Films
Les Films Pelleas
Les Films Velvet