I’ll kick this review off by admitting that I’m a huge fan of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Amelie, A Very Long Engagement, Delicatessen, and City of Lost Children all hold a warm and special place in my heart, so you can imagine my joy and anticipation when the U.S. release of Micmacs was announced.
This movie is chock full of the quirky camera angles and edits that have become a part of Jeunet’s signature, and opens with Bazil (Dany Boon), a video store clerk felled by a stray bullet. The emergency room surgeons flip a coin to determine Bazil’s treatment, and with a Gallic shrug the decision is made to leave the slug in Bazil’s brain.
This leads to problems, of course. Returning to the video store after his hospital stay, Bazil discovers that his position has been filled. With no money coming in he’s soon homeless, and survives by becoming a street performer. Soon enough he’s adopted by a group of junkyard dwellers, their diverse skills (toolmakers, circus performers, human calculators) are soon revealed to be the missing pieces that Basil needs to go after the two arms dealers responsible for his injury and the death of his father, killed years ago by a landmine.
The Rube Goldbergesque gadgets and contraptions, the sight gags and live-action cartoon characters all have a revered place in Jeunet’s cinematic universe, and taken individually they work very well. There was one gag involving a billboard that had me grinning in amazement, and quite a few others that made me laugh out loud. Unfortunately, as a whole the gags only serve to reveal the wafer thin plot and shallow character development of Micmacs.
Perhaps unfairly, the success of Amelie will color the reviews of all of Jeunet’s films for his entire career, or at least for many years to come. Although the reviews of Micmacs have not been terrible, I have to wonder if a lesser known director would have received a little more acclaim for this film.
* Actors: Dany Boon, André Dussollier, Nicolas Marié, Jean-Pierre Marielle,
* Directors: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
* Writers: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant
* Producers: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Frédéric Brillion, Gilles Legrand, Souad Lamriki
* Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
* Language: French
* Subtitles: English
* Region: Region 1
* Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
* Number of discs: 1
* Rated: R (Restricted)
* Studio: Sony Pictures
* DVD Release Date: December 14, 2010
* Run Time: 105 minutes
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