30 December 2004 | guy-bellinger
Promising starting point leading to nowhere.
The title(delightfully paradoxical), the genre (French made fantasies are rather seldom), the names of the director (Pierre Boutron, quite rightly acclaimed for his work on television) and Daniel Pennac(one of our best contemporary French writers) made my mouth water. To no avail!
Indeed,the actors ( usually all excellent) gesticulate instead of playing, the comedy is heavy-handed, almost always privileging sight gags over satire and there are far too many digressions, either vulgar( the prostitutes; the all too numerous expletives) or politically correct ( the integration of minorities issue, the victims of contaminated blood transfusion ). The worst point is that both the writers and the director forget to deal with their subject : kids having to settle parents'problems and the reverse. How little substance there is in this film!
Two actors do a very good job despite the poor material they are given to defend : the always reliable Michel Aumont as a priceless lax middle school principal and Jean-Louis Richard as a bitter, sadistic teacher.
Which amounts to not much, I'm afraid.