Five – Igor Gotesman

Five-Affiche-CritiqueFor audiences who like their comedy on the crude side with plenty of off-colour sexual references, endless scenes of dope smoking and even a modicum of scatalogical humour then Igor Gotesman’s directoral debut is just the ticket.  But disappointment awaits those attracted by the presence of Pierre Niney, formerly of the prestigious La Comédie Française, in one of the title roles as Five is a far cry from his usual pick of films.  Goteman’s film celebrates adolescent humour at its most irritating even though all the main actors are playing characters in their mid-twenties. It’s in effect a string of gags held together by a flimsy plot-line which leaves little room for credibility as it parties its way to a predictable, upbeat ending.  There are definite shades of American director Judd Apatow in the vulgar language and machismo.  Not surprising as Gotesman admits he is a fan of the Knocked-Up and the 40-year-old Virgin director. But this type of comedy feels forced when applied to a group of French, middle-class, educated twenty-somethings.  Add-in a cameo by veteran actress Fanny Ardant as a pot-smoking, swinger and things are definitely on the slide.

Sam (Niney) and his four childhood friends Timothée (François Civil), Vad (Gotesman), Julia (Margot Bancilhon) and Nestor (Idrissa Hanrot) have always dreamed of sharing an apartment together.  Sam finds the perfect place and dupes his rich father (Philippe Duclos)  into paying most of the rent.  All is going well until Sam’s father decides to cut his son off without a centime and Sam turns to drug dealing to make sure he and his friends are not thrown out onto the street.  When Sam loses his drug supplier, he is forced to enlist the help of his friends to keep his illegal trade running.
Gotesman, Niney and Civil starred together in the successful Canal Plus comedy Casting which Gotesman also co-wrote. Before Five, he directed a couple of short films including an earlier version of this particular film.  And the longer version feels over-stretched and short of new ideas.  Niney is currently one of the rising stars of a younger generation of French actors and has appeared in several critically acclaimed films including the title role in Jalil Lespert’s Yves Saint Laurent. He was excellent in Yann Gozlan’s Un Homme Idéal and showed his talent for comedy opposite Virginie Efira in the crowd-pleasing romantic comedy 20 Ans d’Ecart.  Niney works hard at this role and his comic chemistry with Civil is the highlight of an otherwise unmemorable film.

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