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Reviews for December 26th, 2014


Directed by Eric Lavaine

      Antoine Chavalier (Lambert Wilson) suffers a heart attack before his 50th birthday, and decides to make the most out of life by taking is friends on a vacation to the French countryside. His wife (Sophie Duez), whom he's cheating on, join them while tensions/arguments between the husband and wife as well as him and his friends rise to the surface.

      Light, breezy, uncomplicated and harmless, Barbecue may not cut deep into its various themes of friendship, marriage, love, happiness and mid-life crisis nor does it offer much in terms of surprises, but at least it's mildly amusing and harmless. When it comes to the way its plot unfolds and its characters' issues become resolved, it's very contrived and Hollywood. However, what adds a bit French-style to it is how its characters can be found eating and wine-drinking together quite often while conversing. The performances are decent, and the actors bring their own charisma to the film, especially Florence Foresti as one of Antoine's friends.

      Could writer/director Eric Lavaine gone darker or included more realism and inspired comedic moments? Probably, but there's a nice balance of drama and comedy to be found here without the film going overboard in either direction. At least Lavaine doesn't resort to the lowest common denominator as a means of generating laughs. As long as you're not expecting Barbecue to be as profound or memorable as an Eric Rohmer film, you'll at least find it marginally entertaining and even somewhat uplifting.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Distrib Films.
Opens at Quad Cinema.
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