16 March 2014 | zetes
Terribly obnoxious and unfunny
One of Alain Resnais' more mainstream films, including American actors and characters in a mostly English language script. It is deservedly forgotten. Quite frankly, it's garbage. Adolph Green (of the musical team Comden and Green, who worked on Singin' in the Rain and The Bandwagon) plays a curmudgeonly Cleveland comic strip writer who is invited to Paris for a gallery show on American comics. He hopes to finally see his daughter (Laura Benson), who hasn't spoken to him in the two years she's been going to college there. Benson finds her father lowbrow, though, and ditches him, hoping she can finally catch up to her professor (Gerard Depardieu). Unbeknownst to her, Depardieu is secretly a huge fan of American comic strips, and ends up inviting Green and his girlfriend (Linda Lavin) to stay with him at his mother's country estate. Benson, when she finds out, decides to follow them. The problems with this movie are many, but the worst one is that Green is an enormous, enormous jerk. He spends the whole film yelling at everybody, frequently complaining at as loud a volume possible about how horrible the French are. You know there's a problem when you want to bludgeon the main character of a movie to death within ten seconds of his first appearance. Second, Benson is a complete bitch. I think part of it is that the actress (whom I think is French, since she only seems to have appeared in other French films) is awful. She comes off as totally emotionless and unnecessarily mean (though I can understand why she wouldn't want to be anywhere near her father, she treats Lavin, who always comes off as a nice person, like crap for no reason). Third, Green's cartoon cats often pop up in animated thought bubbles to tease both Green and Benson. This is especially unfunny and hugely obnoxious, particularly since Green voices the cats with his awful, nasal voice. The film does get a little better as it goes on. The cartoons fade away and Green, who starts to appreciate France after he meets Depardieu, calms the Hell down. But it's still utterly unfunny and I'd like to forget it was ever made.