L'anniversaire (2005) Poster

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6/10
Diane Kurys not at her best
guy-bellinger1 October 2005
Diane Kurys'last, entitled "L'Anniversaire", is part of her lesser efforts, closer to "Cocktail Molotov", "Un Homme amoureux" or "Les Enfants du Siècle" than the superior "Diabolo Menthe", "Coup de Foudre" or "La Baule-Les Pins". The point of departure of this dramatic comedy is not extraordinarily original but has already given rise to memorable films like American "The big Chill", French "Mes meilleurs Copains", Italian "C'eravamo tanto amati", Canadian "Les Invasions barbares", to name a few. With such potentialities in store, the viewer could reasonably expect this new Kurys opus to join the superior category. Alas, this is only passable entertainment, which can help to kill the time, nothing more. What prevents "l'Anniversaire" from being a great film is the numerous defects which plague it. To begin with, the lazy soundtrack consisting, one more time in recent cinema, of a compilation of international song hits, never managing to give unity to the whole thing. Second, the reduction of Moroccan actors to the role of servants (Hey, Miss Kurys, Morocco is not a Frenck colony any more!). Another serious flaw is the lack of bite in the satire. Daniel Saint-Hamont (her co-writer) and Kurys do have digs at targets such as cynicism, TV reality, the corrupting domination of money but they do it so mildly, so politely that they miss their point. Last but not least is the miscasting of Lambert Wilson who is a good actor but too kind, too elegant a person to play a cool shark efficiently. His natural niceness shows through all the time!

If "L'Anniversaire" remains pleasant to see in spite of everything, it is thanks to its other actors, who are more at ease with their characters than Wilson, from Michèle Laroque as a peevish has been film actress to Jean-Hugues Anglade playing to perfection the rebellious, unhealthy brother; from slender, delicate, sensitive Isabella Ferrari to hilarious Antoine Duléry who mimics Charles Aznavour like nobody else. And let's not forget Florence Thomassin looking as if she had always been a daft, outrageous, joyful hair stylist!

Thanks to them, the viewer does not totally waste his/her time.
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7/10
That Old Gang Of Mine
writers_reign22 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I chose to see this on the strength of Diane Kurys and Michelle Laroque or vice versa so the rest was something of a bonus. There's nothing new in the premise which is little more than Class Reunion time with added spin. Essentially one brother writes a book in which he is critical of his 'Mr TV' type brother, who specialises in Reality shows. Irked by this the 'wronged' brother (Lambert Wilson) invites bad brother plus a bunch of old friends and colleagues to his second home in Marrakesh, a convenient 45th birthday falling at just the right time. Naturally old sores are picked to reveal festering wounds before they once more go their separate ways. The satire doesn't quite come off but there are some nice moments and Laroque has the has-been actress down pat. I'd hesitate to describe it as essential viewing but neither will you be entirely wasting your time.
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6/10
The Big Chill for 45 year olds
prettyjulie13011 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It was a cinematic bon bon.

Similar plot devices to The Big Chill, such as one of the gang of 7 having been a famous actor; one of them having an inappropriately young girlfriend; a bunch of illicit smokable substance; one having the desire to share the wealth via a slightly illegal maneuver; the significant others who accompanied the primary invitees leaving before the rest; the dancing to the oldies scene (though the music is American, in the case of L'Anniversaire they pick what is arguably the most horrible of the lot from the early 1980's - Steve Miller's Abracadabra, with lyrics "Abra, abra-ca-dabra; I wanna reach out and grab ya", to end the movie. ::shudder::) Beside the similarities to The Big Chill, the direction is mediocre but the locations are beautiful and beautifully shot.

It's a good date movie.
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