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Players, The/Les infidčles

7/10

Stars: Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche, Alexandra Lamy, Guillaume Canet, Sandrine Kiberlain, Manu Pa Yet, Clara Ponsot, Elise Oppong, Isabelle Nanty, Marva Pas Quali, Mathilda May

Director: Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche etc

The Players is subtitled which means it’s foreign and therefore entitled to be considered as ‘art’. But there’s a problem – the six short films about the rampant infidelities committed by its two protagonists, Dujardin and Lellouche – are crude, lewd and relentlessly sex-driven. So is it art or is it simply a dirty French film?

Let’s face it - few sex comedies arrive on screen with the kind of credentials this disgraceful – and disgracefully funny - offering boasts. Dujardin won this year’s Oscar for The Artist and its Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius is responsible for perhaps the funniest and most sustained episode in which Dujardin, attending a sales conference in an hotel, does his best but fails to have sex, with Lellouche appropriately louche as a crippled wheelchair-bound sex magnet.

Good taste is happily absent in every episode. The climax (pun intended) in Las Vegas could well bring a blush to the cheek of even Channel 4, a weird group therapy session is weird enough to be the real thing but far funnier, especially in its dénouement, while the hospital set sequence culminating in its rightly embarrassed protagonist telling his wife “Don’t go by appearances” to explain his unfortunate attachment to a woman could well make a statue redden.

It earns its ‘18’ certificate. But if you’re in the mood for a fun filthy film without any noticeable redeeming social features, enjoy – and give a fake name at the box office.

Alan Frank

France 2012. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour.
107 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 06 Jul 2012