It’s been a strong year for the Alliance Francaise Film Festival with a shed load of great films. Unfortunately In Bed with Victoria isn’t one of them. Belonging firmly in the more populist side of the festival this light romantic comedy fails on every conceivable level.
Virginie Efira is fast becoming the Katherine Heigl of French romcoms, but while she’s a very good comic actor, she has a knack for choosing terrible material. Here she plays Victoria, a lawyer, and single Mum, who is asked to take on the case of an old friend of hers, Vincent (Melvil Poupaud).
Vincent is accused of stabbing his girlfriend at a wedding. Now stop me if you think any of this sounds a bit stupid, but despite her knowing both the accused and the defendant, and being at the wedding herself, and thus a witness, she takes the case on.
Meanwhile, she bumps into an ex-client Samuel (Vincent Lacoste), a drug dealer she defended. He claims to be clean now and asks if he can become her intern. She doesn’t need one but she gives him a job as her baby-sitter, which involves him moving in and sleeping on her couch. Not only does she trust him with her kids, she also gives him the pin number to her credit card.
Meanwhile Vincent’s case hits a bump when Victoria gets barred for six months for talking to the defendant. The first thing she does when the six months is over is take up the case again!
In court, the witnesses include the defendant’s dog and a chimpanzee that was at the wedding. But I’m making all of this sound much funnier than it really is. This is the kind of comedy that has no internal logic whatsoever. Everything is for the sake of farcical situations rather than believability.
Just as crucially, it has no sympathetic characters. Efira can usually bring some kind of empathy to her roles, but has no such success here. She deserves better material than this.
Just as concerning is the fact that Vincent Lacoste is becoming a romantic lead. He’s dependably and utterly charmless, and there is no credibility to the sexual attraction between him and the title character.
This is an absolute dog of a film, and not an adorable French poodle, more like a big, gormless mongrel that’s trying too hard to get your attention.
In Bed with Victoria is currently screening at the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival.
Richard Leathem @dickiegee