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Pauline Détective by Marc Fitoussi

March 8, 2013

After striking gold two years ago with Copacabana Marc Fitoussi seemed to be ready to fulfill the promises and to avoid the shortcomings of his debut feature – La vie d’artiste – Sandrine Kiberlain starred there and I’d say she has once again boarded the Fitoussi train at the wrong time because Pauline détective is far from being the successful comedy that Copacabana was. At this point I’m tempted to forget that this intends to be a review so I could start wondering about the thaumaturgic influence Isabelle Huppert – the protagonist of Copacabana – has on the directors she works with, but I will save it for another post. Pauline is a stressed and obsessed Parisian journalist, she is persuaded by her sister Jeanne (Audrey Lamy) to go on vacation to Italy with her for a few days, as soon as they reach their destination on the Italian coast they found out a serial killer is at work in the surroundings, even sooner we discover that Pauline’s crime news obsession wasn’t buried deep enough to resist the temptation to investigate the case, everywhere she looks she sees a crime that will make the cover of her magazine.

Pauline – just like Copacabana’s Babou – is a quirk character, but the strength of Fitoussi’s previous film was built around the clash of its bizarre protagonist with the corporate world and Europe’s social and economic difficulties of our times, while Pauline’s grotesque behavior plays along pointless comedic lines that are never funny – the film maybe has a take on our times obsession with crime news, but it never amounts to something meaningful or even remotely funny, furthermore Sandrine Kiberlain was a bad casting choice, she is too beautiful for the part, the way Simone (Claudio Santamaria) – the lifeguard at the beach – treats her when she arrives maybe intends to be funny being unconventional but it doesn’t work, on paper it could be a good idea – beautiful French woman gets treated like a nuisance by Italian lifeguard stallion – maybe with another screenwriter and a better director. This is step back for Fitoussi, there is nothing to recommend here or maybe there is: if you haven’t seen Copacabana yet, do yourself a favor and watch it soon.

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