It’s hard to believe the award winning director of Vénus Beauté (institut)is the same person behind the lazy, romantic comedy Tu Veux ou Tu Veux Pas, a train-crash of a film which stretches credibility to the limit and throws together the sadly mismatched Sophie Marceau and Patrick Bruel as the romantic leads. There is nothing even slightly romantic, funny or insightful in Tonie Marshall’s film about a reformed sex addict (Bruel) who hires a non-reformed sex addict (Marceau) to work alongside him as a marriage counsellor. The end of the story is never in doubt, but to get there the audience has to negotiate a clumsy, cliché-ridden dialogue and set comic pieces underpinned with a slight whiff of desperation.
Lambert (Bruel) is an ex-airline pilot who has retrained to become a marriage counsellor. In his spare time, he attends a support group for sex addicts where he proudly announces he has almost completed his assigned period of sexual abstinence. Judith (Marceau) has just been fired from her job as an international sales director for sleeping with a number of her co-workers and on her return to Paris manages to wrangle a job as Lambert’s assistant. Her lack of qualifications or experience for the job are neatly brushed to one side, as the couple tackle the serious question of whether Lambert can resist Judith’s sexual advances and form a mature, emotional, no-sex, relationship with a woman?
Tu Veux ou Tu Veux Pas is a shameful use of sex addiction as a pretext for some elbow-nudging humour about the male sex drive while pretending that men too want meaningful relationships. And Judith seems to be the ultimate male fantasy rolled into one – a beautiful, sensual woman who loses all inhibitions after a couple of drinks and wants sex with any available man. It looks weak on paper and it certainly doesn’t translate to the big screen.
Bruel is not a comic actor. He lacks the natural timing, facial expressions and body language of a gifted comedian while Marceau is toe-curlingly over-the-top as the man-eating Judith. She is a beautiful, sexy woman who draws male attention from just walking into a room, so why she has to lay on the prowling sexual appetite with a trowel is a mystery. It’s a shame Marceau is not taking a leaf from contemporaries such as Sandrine Kiberlain, Karin Viard or Emmanuelle Devos, who are currently leading the field of female comic actors with films like 9 Mois Ferme or Elle l’Adore (Kiberlain) or On a faille Etre Amies(Viard and Devos).