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Up for Love

6/10

Stars: Jean Dujardin, Virginie Efira, CÚdric Kahn, Manoelle Gaillard, Eric Berger, CÚsar Domboy

Director: Laurent Tirard

Based on an Argentine film as recent as 2013, but given a few small Gallic twists, this French offering is a romcom with a difference. It's impossible to discuss any facet of the plot without revealing its secret, so here goes: Diane (Efira) is a stunning, tall blonde lawyer still trying to extricate herself from marriage to Bruno (Kahn), her business partner, after three years of separation.

Leaving her phone in a restaurant after their latest row, she's surprised to be welcomed at her apartment by a charming male voice offering to return her mobile over a lunch date.

Arriving for their appointment, Diane is taken aback to say the least, to see that Alexandre (the Oscar-winning Dujardin) is about four-and-a-half feet tall (the film's printed synopsis says 4ft 7, the subtitles offer 4ft 5). Needless to say. the relationship that springs up between them is chequered most of the way, after a promising start, as Diane hesitates to introduce her new man to her friends.

A tall man going out with a very short girl would seem strange enough, but the other way round (with the best will in the world, it's uncomfortable to watch on screen) brings both pleasure and pain to the participants - mixed together when he takes her parachuting, telling her 'I've done this once before'.

The camera tends to exaggerate the difference between them, especially as Efira wears four-inch heels, and the not-so-special effects that reduce Dujardin in height tend to shrink him all over, giving a faintly unreal overall appearance.

Fortunately Dujardin is his usual personable self and Efira (for those old enough to remember, she looks like Myl├Ęne Demongeot, only taller) is a natural charmer.

There's an amusing running gag about Alexandre forever being bowled over by his huge and over-enthusiastic dog (he outwits the beast in the end), but the climax is a bit too strung-out for comfort.

David Quinlan

France 2016. UK Distributor: Soda (Gaumont). Technicolor.
97 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 03 Aug 2016