Micmacs (France, 105min)
Dir: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Danny Boon, André Dussollier, Julie Ferrier, Nicolas Marié, and Yolande Moreau.
Micmacs, the latest effort from French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is a disappointment if there ever was one. Jeunet’s previous films, Amélie and A Very Long Engagement, were both enchanting features that displayed the director’s trademark peculiarity. Jeunet’s films are all filled with oddball characters and erratic visual motifs, and their originality was much of the films’ charm. In 2001’s Amélie, Amélie is a whimsical heroine with a wandering imagination, so the film benefited from the inclusion of bizarre aesthetics and a strange kinetic energy. Jeunet put similar embellishments on his adaptation of Sébastien Japrisot’s novel A Very Long Engagement and, like Amélie, the film had a quirky extravagant magic that blended well with the story. Micmacs, however, has the same flair for oddities, yet it all has an ugly macabre feel to it. Whereas Amélie’s idiosyncrasies were an essential part of her character, Bazil, the protagonist of Micmacs, seems eccentric just for the sake of it.
Bazil, played by Danny Boon (Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis), is a lonely clerk who gets shot in the head when a high speed car chase end in an frenzied shootout outside his Parisian video store. During his operation, the doctors are perplexed as to how to operate: if they remove the bullet, Bazil could become the vegetable; if they leave it in, he’ll be fine, but he could die at any moment. The doctors do the most logical thing – they flip a coin and leave it to fate.
It’s unfortunate that Jeunet doesn’t deliver with Micmacs, especially since his signature visual flair should have complemented the offbeat nature of Bazil’s dilemma. Micmacs offers a few genuine laughs, but overall, it’s little more than a mildly amusing trifle.