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(Review originally written at 26 September 2010)

This is certainly not an unpleasant movie to watch but for a comedy it's just too much lacking in its fundamental required ingredients.

Jacques Tati movies are all always being very subtle. Too subtle for my taste. It really takes its time to set up its comical moments, that often fall flat. There is just not an awful lot happening in this movie and comical-wise its surely lacking. Luckily the movie still has a pleasant, fun sort of atmosphere, which still made me enjoy watching this movie. And Tati movies are often movies you just have to watch, rather than paying too much attention for any of its story or acting in it.

This movie was initially intended to be made with the collaboration of Dutch Oscar winner Bert Haanstra. I had never realized this before but Tati and Haanstra were actually two film-makers that were very much alike with their style and approach of film-making, with a big difference that I like Haanstra way better than Tati. Both are being subtle and observant with their movies but Tati movies often feature slapstick humor, while Haanstra movies are more comical in its subtle observance's of real human behavior and its nature. He was also a director that got best known and got most critical acclaim for his documentaries. So while Tati movies are all being forced and staged, Haanstra movies are more realistic with its approach and therefore its subtlety also works out better. You can definitely tell which sequences in this movie got done by Bert Haanstra but you obviously have to be familiar with his work to recognize it. Appereantly he and Jacques Tati did not get along very well, or they had some creative differences so Haanstra left the project before it finished.

It's the last movie to feature the Monsieur Hulot character, from Tati. A comedy slapstick character that got portrayed by Jaceques Tati himself, in a handful of movies, over the decades. I never was too impressed with the character but he still had his biggest successes with it and his movie "Mon oncle" even won an Oscar for best foreign picture, while Tati himself also got nominated once, for his writing on the other Monsieur Hulot movie, "Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot". The character however never really plays the main part in his movies and they focus more on the events and surroundings around him, while often being a social commentary as well.

You can definitely call this movie the least original Monsieur Hulot movie, in terms of its creativity. Guess that Tati really ran out of good ideas and had sort of lost his touch, also after taking some financial blows with his previous movies. You can often see the comical moments in this movie coming from miles away and when they hit, they certainly don't hit as strong and funny as you would hope and perhaps also would expect.

Certainly not an unpleasant movie to watch and Tati's subtlety isn't as annoying as is the case with some of his other movies but for a comedy it's still surely lacking in some good strong humor.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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