Insufferably smug Englishman-in-France soap for US audiences
- A Good Year review by PV
I found this film deeply irritating. Why? Well maybe it's the way it is clearly aimed at the American market so lays on thick the English and French stereotypes (it panders to the USA so much it even used the US version of 'For here's a jolly good fellow' whish in the UK has 'and so say all of us' and NOT 'which nobody can deny as used here).
Like most US films, English people are portrayed as all upper class and rich - this panders to what Americans want to see (as mercilessly milked by High Grant and directors/writers like Richard Curtis. Personally, I find it all vomit-inducing in its twee dishonesty.
It's based on the best-selling (and unashamedly elitist) books of Peter Mayle (author of A Year in Provence). So all tickety-boo middle class fantasy, basically.
France is as appallingly stereotyped as the English characters too AND OF COURSE there needs to be an American character to appeal to that market.
The central character is entirely unsympathetic - and this is laid on thick so as to make his 'redemption' more right-on and perfect in character development terms BUT it is 100% unbelievable too. I have heard of bankers changing careers like this after battles with booze or after losing money/jobs/careers/ homes BUT successful greedy pig bankers do not change their spots so easily!
Acting is fine, and one or two jokes made me laugh. Some pretty French scenery too. Best I can say of this emo-porn fantasy.
But really, only one for the hardcore fans of Ridley Scott or Russell Crowe. 1/5 stars rounded up.
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