When a French film comes along that has two different titles (both in French) it sums up the delightful comedy of errors that awaits in C’est La Vie! (Such is Life!) or Le Sens De La Fête (The Meaning of the Party) or whatever you want to call it! Consistently funny, deliciously French and with a flat out hilarious third act, this is a crowd pleaser for all and a grand way to open the 29th Annual Alliance Française French Film Festival!
Weddings. They’re fantastic to attend. They’re a nightmare to stage and that’s where Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s comedy squarely takes its aim. It’s a tried and true frame work of what could go wrong does go wrong and it’s all down to the marshalling of one event planner to make the whole thing work.
Max (Jean-Pierre Bacri) is a seasoned, if grizzled, wedding planner and highly sought after by enamoured brides and grooms to be. His latest gig is the opulent wedding of Pierre (Benjamin Lavernhe) and Helena (Judith Chemla), adorned by its lavish setting in a French Provincial mansion. It’s going to be a night to remember.. Indeed it is.
Set by time checks throughout, the machinations of setting up the event introduces us to Max’s staff, a broad mix of professionals, ring ins, walking disasters, a bonkers photographer, a lovelorn waiter, a overly zealous wedding singer, a completely undisciplined oaf, and, not to mention, an egomaniacal groom.
Throw in the mix electric shavers, wigs, anchovy pastries, fireworks, tiki torches, performance art, the correct definition of a flute, a horny mother, app dating, some very strong personalities and some wonderful plays on words and you get the sort of comedic farce that French cinema is well known for.
Written into the fabric of this comedy, which is universal in its accessibility, is some distinctly domestic notes. It touches on the passage of refugees and immigration, is wholly embracing and makes little fanfare over sexual diversity, it happily tears into modern phone culture, and it fully embraces multiculturalism.
Like all great comedies, it saves its trump card for the final act which I’ll not reveal here suffice to say is wholly fitting of such a farce. It’s an absolute hoot!
Loads of fun from start to finish and, I am sure, with plenty of word play that this non-French speaking heathen missed along the way, C’Est La Vie! is winning comedy that will no doubt be fast tracked for an English language remake.