Twenty years had separated Les Autres Filles (released in 2000) from Antoinette dans les Cévennes (2020), her first and second feature film. The latter, we remember, had boosted the morale of French spectators, quite dampened at the time by the Covid-19 pandemic. The success it met with (more than 700,000 admissions) undoubtedly explains the return, rapid this time, of Caroline Vignal to directing.
The filmmaker did not hesitate, three years later, to reform her duo with Laure Calamy, for whom her romantic chase in the Cévennes mountains earned, in 2021, the César for best actress. Its presence today in Iris and the Men appears to be the best idea that came to Caroline Vignal for her new comedy, which remains very disappointing, both in terms of the story and the form adopted.
Goodbye to the green pastures, the rough paths of the GR70, the donkey Patrick and his whims. It is in a bourgeois Paris that we find Laure Calamy, named Iris, a dentist working in her own office, a woman married for more than twenty years to Stéphane (Vincent Elbaz), an overworked architect with whom she shares a cloudless life, a plush apartment and two teenage girls, as serious as they are brilliant.
In short, this family, friends envy and admire it. Iris, for her part, withers away. The reason, as banal as it is unspeakable: five years since she and her loved one made love. As we approach fifty, it would be time to react. Since the husband no longer shows any desire, Iris will use a dating site to seek the pleasures of the flesh in other places.
The film, which started off rather well – notably the opening sequence with a torturing osteopath – quickly runs out of steam when it begins to follow its heroine through her extramarital meetings. Embraces snatched from a tight schedule, sex parties more or less clumsy, falsely funny, rarely surprising follow one another. Producing the same effects (telephone signal, chats, messages falling in bursts on the cell phone, progressive collapse of the dental assistant responsible for juggling the agenda) and transporting the frustrated wife towards an increasing fulfillment which will not only liberate the body . The word is also unleashed, which will make the walls of the home tremble.
While the men pass by, each reduced to the minimum portion, Iris gets excited, occupies all the space, to the point of offering, in passing, a musical comedy sequence which falls like a hair on the soup. And which, above all, confirms the dated nature of the film, whose aesthetics and tone recall certain French comedies from the 1980s.
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