L’Ex de Ma Vie is a flat, uninspired romantic comedy by Dorothée Sebbagh, a graduate of the prestigious Paris film school La Femis who, judging by her output to date, is struggling to hit winning form. Despite a promising storyline, Sebbagh fails to cash in on the pedigree of the lead actors Geraldine Nakache (All that Glitters) and Kim Rossi Stuart (Along the Ridge) and has produced a string of banal clichés set against the backdrop of postcard Paris.
Ariane (Nakache), a concert violist, has become engaged to the orchestra’s conducter Christen (Pascal Demolon) while failing to mention she is still married to her Italian husband Nino (Rossi Stuart). Before agreeing to a divorce, Nino insists Ariane goes with him to Paris to enjoy the honeymoon the couple never had. Ariane reluctantly agrees and the two travel to Paris and spend a week sightseeing, fighting and generally making each other miserable.
The final destination for most romantic comedies is never in doubt which makes the journey all the more important. Essential ingredients include a well-written script and a palpable chemistry between the two leads. L’Ex de Ma Vie fails on both counts. The dialogue is dull and rests mainly on Rossi Stuart’s hammy performance as a naive, nutty Italian, while Nakache spends most of the time trailing after her ex, desperately calling out his name. Far from showing why these two should patch things up and get back together, Sebbagh demonstrates exactly why the relationship failed in the first place. Sophie Cattani as a libidinous divorce lawyer and Catherine Jacob as a classical music journalist inject some welcome comic relief although they cannot rescue a film that is already in a tailspin.
Nakache, who directed and co-starred in 2010’s award winning All the Glitters,
is also currently on screen in Audery Dana’s Sous Les Jupes des Filles (Very Bad Girls)
which after just four weeks has pulled in an audience of over one million. Based on these two performances, the jury is still out on whether comedy is a natural fit for this undoubtedly gifted actor.
Sebbagh has already won plaudits for her short films most notably Ni Vue, Ni Connue. Let’s hope she can eventuarlly bring this success to future long features.
DIRECTOR’S BIO – DOROTHEE SEBBAGH