Remember the last time that Jean Dujardin did something that etched in your mind for a prolonged period? Chances are, it was probably Oscar darling The Artist, his last truly solid outing. True, we’ve seen him in The Wolf of Wall Street, Monuments Men and even a coffee ad with George Clooney, but he’s not quite revelled in the success he enjoyed back in 2012. Heading back to his French roots and looking to make a good impression in a romantic comedy, his latest offering Up For Love is yet another example of his unfortunate failings to really strike a truly memorable performance since his Artist pinnacle.
Up For Love sees lawyer Diane (Virginie Efira) find herself in a strange situation in which she loses her mobile phone, only to strike up a rather odd and unusual rapport with the man who has found said device, Alexandre (Dujardin). After the pair have chatted it is clear they have a certain interest in one another and they decide to go on a date, with Diane especially optimistic about the man she is about to meet.
Upon their meeting, she discovers that Alexandre is in fact smaller than your average man. From there she looks to begin a new relationship while coping with the challenges that come from her vertically challenged; her own views and those of the people around her.
Up For Love is one of those romantic comedies that sadly falls under the pitfalls of a rather generic genre offering, but also feels rather disjointed and tonally shambolic. The film’s main theme focuses on fitting in and acceptability in society, while constantly using its main character’s shortcomings as the butt of all jokes. It’s a negative that constantly pops up throughout the film and causes the majority of the ‘comedic’ moments to ultimately mis-fire.
It’s a sad state of affairs as both Dujardin and Efira are exceptionally charming pliers of their trade, but the scripting really does let them down severely, leaving us the audience feeling no connection with either party.
Additionally, the visual aspect of Dujardin’s small man is all over the place. One moment appearing dropped into a scene via rendering, the next moment looking a far cry from his apparent four-foot-five stature, the film suffers from its obvious lack of budgeting in authentic on-screen aesthetics. Couple that with a score that too feels out of place and against the whole tone of the film and you really do have a mostly forgettable rom-com.
Up For Love showcases the lesser side of foreign cinema that we would prefer to forget – the flat and unfunny romantic comedy. A film that proves that you can’t just throw two charismatic talents together with poor content and expect miracles, this is one foreign effort of 2016 that will quickly fall as a forgotten property.
Oh Jean, we long for your great comeback film…
Up For Love is out on Blu-Ray and DVD now.