Thirtyfive-something (2005)

Release Date - Mar 16, 2005 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - Belgium, France  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Because Tout Pour Plaire (Thirtyfive Something) centers on a group of female friends meeting for lunches and discussing sex, likening it to a French Sex and the City may be inevitable. To underscore the American girl-power message, the characters even get drunk and dance to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" at a point of particular male-related consternation. And the non-literal English translation of the title seems to beg an association with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda. But Cecile Telerman's film is ultimately more Tout Pour Plaire than Thirtyfive Something. Dignified and French, it's a less overtly comedic affair -- the few laughs are in service of sorting out relationships truths, rather than slapstick humiliation. The leads give assured and capable performances, notably Mathilde Seigner as the most emotionally disorganized of the trio. Hers is the prototypical single-girl storyline -- shopping, grappling with deceptively suave suitors, making steady strides toward Monsieur Right -- so it may resonate to young audiences a little more than Judith Godrëche's and Anne Parillaud's tales of married woe. But the script, by Telerman and Jerome Soubeyrand, balances the plots without giving preferential treatment to any of them, which allows the film to progress forward in satisfying, if unsurprising, strides. In fact, that's the greatest criticism that can be mounted against Tout Pour Plaire -- it's utterly conventional. But that doesn't make it any less a pleasing slice of feminism lite. In fact, as its title literally translates, Tout Pour Plaire does "anything to please" its target audience. In this case, that's a good thing.