Pierre Adenot’s swoony, cocktail-shaker orchestrations open and close this “film collectif,” promising a pop version of Old-World romance that this failed omnibus of 18 vignettes never delivers. In a stumble down the Champs-Élysées, premiering tonight thanks to the NW Film Center, various directors compete to see who can make the worst segment.
Taking the prize in hatefulness, the Coen brothers present a degrading skit in which tourist Steve Buscemi is beaten senseless, allegedly to comic effect, in the Tuileries subway station. Alexander Payne, of the overrated Sideways, continues his condescending mockery of the working classes by making cruel fun of an overweight mail carrier (Margo Martindale). She narrates her vacation anecdotes in gauchely over-enunciated, American-accented French. We’re meant to laugh at her ignorance, yet it’s Payne who’s a snickering twit.
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