Cote D'azur Movie Review
Dad Marc (Gilbert Melki) and Mom Béatrix (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) have brought their two teenage children Laura (Sabrina Seyvecou) and Charly (Romain Torres) to the family manse for another seaside summer. Laura soon takes off for Portugal on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle, leaving Charly alone. To liven things up, he invites his best friend Martin (Edouard Collin) to join in on the vacation fun. Cue the sexual hijinks.
While it's a known fact that Martin is gay, Marc and Béatrix are increasingly unsure about their own son's sexuality, not that Béatrix really minds. She's half Dutch, she tells Marc, and therefore more tolerant than him with his uptight French background. Charly has long flowing hair and a classic Gallic pout that lend him a Pre-Raphaelite beauty, and Martin constantly urges him to "come out of zee closette," even though Charly insists he's not gay. All Dad knows for sure is that Charly spends way too much time in the shower "scrubbing himself," and the constant lack of hot water is the film's most charming running joke. That shower will get a lot of use before the film ends.
Béatrix has her own little secret, namely a horny older lover (Jacques Bonnaffé) who has followed her from the city in order to keep their affair going, outdoors under the bushes if necessary. Béatrix is so laid back that she really doesn't care who she's doing it with as long as someone is stripping her of her bathing suit on a daily basis.
Marc seems oblivious to the sexual shenanigans going on around the house, but that's because he has his own sexual secret. Spying young Martin in the shower arouses him, and soon we realize that there's more to Marc than just loving French father. In fact, when Martin goes out cruising in the dunes, he encounters a hunky local plumber named Didier (the always welcome Jean-Marc Barr), who happens to know Marc from days gone by.
So...who is going to couchez with whom? That's the fun of the second half of the film, as people spy on each other, secrets get revealed, and new partnerships form. The story whizzes by with good humor and a relaxed liberalism the likes of which you wouldn't find in, say, the United States of America. Things are so light, in fact, that at times the cast breaks into musical numbers in a sort of homage to classic French films like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Some may find this a bit much; even Pedro Almodóvar doesn't pull that stunt. Still, if you just "go with le flow" and accept that everyone is hopped up on the aphrodisiac oysters they've been slurping throughout (the film's French title translates as "Shellfish and Seafood,") you'll accept the shaky singing and corny dancing. Just sit back and wait for the blissfully happy ending.
Aka Crustacés et coquillages.