Mon idole (2002)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Comedy of Manners  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Josh Ralske

Anchored by an iconic performance from (François Berléand, Guillaume Canet's Mon idole is intriguing and scabrously funny—an accomplished directorial debut. The film is a scathing look at show business ambition, along the lines of George Huang's Swimming With Sharks, and Broustal, Berléand's megalomaniacal producer dominates this film much as Kevin Spacey's more belligerent character did that one. For most of it's length, Mon idole is a smart and flashy film that keeps you guessing as to where it's going. The characters aren't especially likeable, but they're all compelling, particularly Broustal, the drolly despicable media king. The more Bastien (Canet) accedes to the couple's caprices, the worse things get for him, despite their constant reassurances. Highlights include a coerced break-up call to his girlfriend in which Bastien says everything he's told to, despite its illogic, and Broustal's automotive encounter with a wayward stag. Things begin to drag in the final third, once the couple's real intentions are revealed. It's definitely a case where the buildup is more interesting than the payoff. Perhaps the banality of the payoff is part of the point, but it still sinks the third act a bit, until an inappropriate and ironically peppy finale ends things on an up note. The film's critique of "trash TV" also seems a bit dated at this point. But in all, Canet keeps things lively, handles the sardonically comic tone well, and shows tremendous promise as a director.