Run time: 96 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 28th March 2012
Box Office USA: $0.6M
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures
Production compaines: Tempête Sous Un Crâne Productions, Senator Film Produktion, Focus Films
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 65 Rotten: 36
IMDB: 6.0 / 10
Director: Julie Delpy
Producer: Scott Franklin, Ulf Israel, Christophe Mazodier, Jean-Jacques Neira, Hubert Toint
Screenwriter: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau
Also starring: Christophe Mazodier
Marion (Delpy) and her boyfriend Mingus (Rock) each have young children (Shipman and Riley) from previous relationships, and their blended family is doing just fine until Marion's dad (Julie's real dad Albert) arrives from France with her sister Rose (Landeau) and Rose's loutish boyfriend Manu (Nahon), who of course is one of Marion's exes. For two days, these three interlopers push all of Marion's and Mingus' buttons, straining their relationship to the breaking point. And their neighbours (Baker and Burton) are even more irritated.
Delpy and Landeau's script sharply cuts through the relationships to bring out the culture-clash comedy with intelligence and insight. Every scene is impeccably observed to catch amusing details in the often riotous dialog. And there are hilarious sequences all the way through, from Rose's inability not to be a temptress to a brilliant rapid-fire montage in which the family visits every tourist spot in New York in one day.
Apart from a few corny slapstick scenes, the humorous chaos is all grounded in genuine human behaviour, which allows the actors to deliver performances that are both earthy and funny. Delpy again brings a wonderfully off-handed combination of carefree but knowing lustiness to Marion, while Rock is startlingly good in an against-type role (he should be let out of his box more often). Together they create very strong chemistry that's realistically tested by these annoying but likeable French visitors.
The story gets a bit silly, with a subplot involving Marion selling her soul to Gallo as a performance art piece, plus a goofy climactic sequence in Central Park. But it also remains utterly charming from start to finish, mainly because the actors are clearly having a ball with the clever screenplay, which layers outrageous hilarity into a genuinely thoughtful exploration of family issues.
And honestly, you have to cherish any film that keeps you laughing from start to finish.