Rock’n Roll – Guillaume Canet

Guillaume Canet’s Rock’n’ Roll is a fine example of a genre of film not often seen from French directors. In addition, this self-parodying film comes from an actor/director not well-known for his pure comic talent.  Canet is more often seen in taut thrillers like La Prochaine Fois Je Viserai le Coeur or L’Homme qu’on Aimait Trop, so it’s a pure joy to see him here poking fun at himself and real-life partner Marion Cotillard with such wild abandon.  He doesn’t hold back on lampooning his actor’s ego, cinema’s obsession with youth and even takes a pot shot at the shoddy way actors are treated by casting directors à la La La Land. It works beautifully and Cotillard more than matches Canet for making fun of her image in the media of a serious, slightly manic actress. Canet has roped in some familiar faces to play along with the gag including Gilles Lellouche, popular stand-up comedian Kev Adams and Yvan Attal most recently seen camping it up in Dany Boon’s Raid: Dingue. Even aged rocker Johnny Hallyday makes an appearance alongside his wife Laetitia, although it’s difficult to play the caricature of an elderly rock star when that’s already clearly the case.  Canet’s only fault is to take a good joke too far. He should have quit while he was ahead and made the film a good 25 minutes shorter.

Canet is Guillaume Canet, a 43 year-old actor who has a successful career and steady homelife, until he is told by a young actress that he is not very ‘rock ‘n’ roll’. Roughly translated he is an actor with a bland, unsexy  image who has seen his ranking drop drastically in the list of French actors who women want to sleep with.  The news sends him running headlong into a mid-life crisis and he decides to change everything about his image while his friends and family stand-by helpless.
Rock ‘n’ Roll is perceptive, funny and at times oddly moving as Canet gradually throws everything away in the pursuit of a lost dream.  And he finally realises there is only one place to go when the lines become blurred between fantasy and reality – Hollywood. On the basis of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Canet should add comedy to his already impressive list of cinematic talents.

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