Perky French comedy drama that brings together a series of short films about male infidelity
This perky French portmanteau sees Gilles Lellouche (Point Blank) and recent Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) tackle the subject of male infidelity, as they assume a variety of predatory and buffoonish guises. The Players brings together short films and sketches penned and helmed by a collective of French talent, including the aforementioned stars and The Artist’s director Michel Hazanavicius.
In The Players the practice of adultery is consistently lampooned rather than celebrated and the consequences and associated hypocrisies are explored. Amongst the stories are that of the unfortunate Laurent (Dujardin) whose attempts to get laid at a work conference are repeatedly thwarted and the more sophisticated Eric (Lellouche) who can’t keep up with his young lover (Clara Ponsot). The film’s (comedic) drama is entertainingly interspersed with broadly humorous sketches, neatly drawn together by a very funny Adulterers Anonymous meeting.
The leads are difficult to dislike even at their most roguish and send themselves up with aplomb. Achieving consistency in an anthology can be challenging, yet the five writers and seven directors of The Players seem to be on the same page; there might be no real stand-out segment but neither are there any notable missteps. The requisite Vegas montage aside, it’s considerably more thoughtful and appealing to both sexes than the controversially crass poster campaign suggested. While not quite funny enough to cut it as pure comedy, nor emotionally probing enough to be a great drama, The Players is still a pleasingly frank and, at times, guiltily daft take on a very sticky subject.
Selected release from Fri 6 Jul.