13 March 2010

Not on the Lips / Pas sur la bouche (Alain Resnais, 2003)

Pas sur la bouche, or Not on the Lips, is the eleventh film I've seen by Alain Resnais. I loved nine of them but this one and Same Old Song were just kind of okay. Like Same Old Song, it's a musical and although it seems kind of hollow it thankfully has a few high points to balance out the low points. It's based on an operetta from 1925. The plot concerns a woman who's married to a wealthy businessman and discovers her first husband, who her current husband doesn't know about, is her current husband's new business partner. Aside from a regular cast of frequent Resnais collaborators, the film also stars Audrey Tautou and Isabelle Nanty, the latter of which you'll remember as the cigarette lady in Amélie. The previous husband is a sort of broad caricature of the 'ugly American' and I guess the humor in general is a little too broad or just doesn't travel well or I don't know what. The high points are generally boisterous moments in the musical numbers, though the strong cast certainly buoys the dusty material. The opening titles are wonderful and so are the sets. C

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