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Tribeca 2017: Guillaume & Marion in "Rock'n Roll"

Here's Jason Adams reporting from the Tribeca Film Festival

As the fifth movie I saw in a single day at the Tribeca Film Festival this past weekend (a new personal record!) I couldn’t have chosen wiser – Guilluame Canet’s movie star satire Rock'n Roll is as broad and goofy and absurd as they come, and while it might overstay its welcome (I’d say no comedy should run over two hours but Toni Erdmann did recently prove that golden rule incorrect) it’s also a lively good-natured farce that had the audience half rolling in the aisles. 

Canet co-wrote and directed Rock'n Roll, and he stars as Guillaume Canet, famous French actor and director, partnered with and father to the child of Marion Cotillard, world-famous Oscar winning actress – the two actors (and a troupe of famous French faces that they enlist to star alongside them and fill out their world) all send up their own images, taking them to absurd (and man does it go there) extremes...

It’s all set off when Canet’s ego is bruised by his latest co-star, the young model-turned actress Camille Rowe, who tells him he’s not the stud young girls are fantasizing about anymore (although somebody should tell that to Canet’s camera, which he uses to ogle himself amply); from there he’s sent onto a long dark night of the soul in which he tries on every mid-life crisis cliché for size. (Failed) Sex, Drug (Overdoses), and the titular Rock & Roll all await our increasingly despairing leading man as he careens wildly across the streets and clubs and movie sets of Paris, trying to rattle his image of Nice Guy Dad, one terrible awful mistake at a time.

Canet’s all in and then some (and thens ome more), but I have to say it was Cotillard’s running-gag that amused me the most – the entire film she’s practicing a Quebecois accent for the new Xavier Dolan movie she’s about to star in and everything she says comes out as total gibberish; she’s also pretty keen on trying out a series of Oscar-ready disabilities, including limps and stutters galore. And Cotillard makes the wise choice playing everything as straight as an arrow, and it’s a boundlessly goofy sight.

Rock'n Roll won’t win Canet any of the Cesar awards that his “Canet” character throws a fit over (speaking of, Cotillard once again one-ups him and walks away with the film’s best sight gag regarding her multiple statues) but it’s a delightful time at the movies – I’m not sure how it would play for a viewer without a decent knowledge of French cinema and culture (there were jokes I wasn’t getting and I try to pay attention). Still, Guillaume Canet’s great big adorable idiot’s grin probably translates.

Rock'n Roll plays Tribeca Film Festival at 3:00 PM Tues (4/25), 9:00 PM Wed (4/26), and 10:00 PM Thur (4/27)

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Reader Comments (3)

Is there a way to organise for every Marion Cotillard movie to be instantly and directly distributed into my brain? I'll pay anything. I'll donate my first-born.

April 25, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergoran

goran. Co-sign as second-born. I ll pay anything to see lovely Cotillard

April 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmazingAmy

This film was poorly received in France and it was a box office failure. It seems to be a critics pleaser only apparently. French audience didn't buy it so the rest of the world probably won't care either. The plot sounds ridiculous really.

April 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

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