French Girl

French Girl
French Girl
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Who said romantic comedies are dead? Undoubtedly ice cream genre that pleases crowds from 1990s and beyond is just perfect reason for a couch potato date night, where you can watch lovers fight, make peace, break up again, kiss and so on. A new little budget feature from James A. Woods and Nicolas Wright as co-writer-directors known as French Girl might not be the most original material ever but it does put an interesting spin on the usual love-triangle tropes found in many modern-day romantic comedies. However despite Mr Braff’s age showing here, he does relatably come off with some funny slapstick humor that will remind you of Scrubs heyday.

Firstly, don’t let the R-rating fool you. The French Girl movie title sounds lascivious considering its simplicity; ‘what did your dirty mind go to?’ This movie could have had a better title rather than French girl which sounds a bit derogatory to use for an adult woman who is matured like this one. The only reason why this film has been rated as adults-only by the MPAA is because it has more than two F-bombs within its 110-minutes duration while without them this could have made the PG-13 standards easily.

So back to Braff’s plot now. Gordon played by Braff who is a schoolteacher lives with his girlfriend Sophie (Ophan Black co-star Evelyne Brochu) in Brooklyn until Ruby (Vanessa Hudgens), a famous chef changes everything offering Sophie promotion chances if she goes north to Quebec. It also happens that this place comes from Sophie’s family background and most importantly that Ruby was once engaged secretly to her past lover Sophie. Enter love triangle!

Quebec means all things French right down to language barrier issues when Gordon arrives at Sophie’s family farm while Sophie undergoes some training at Ruby’s renowned restaurant nearby. Just before they move out, Gordon has a funny serious talk with his alcoholic writer father played by veteran character actor William Fichtner which was great to see back on the big screen! Some of the best moments in French Girl happen when he interacts with Braff. It’s like a TV show.

As for other standout moments, Evelyne Brochu is frequently irresistible as the titular French girl, i.e., a sophisticated and highly educated career woman. If you ever loved Scrubs that aired on television for years then you’ll love seeing Braff who still gives it all physically stumbling through virtually every scene. However, they look on as he desperately tries to steal a wedding ring from Sophie’s dead relative without being caught by anyone in her family.

Later on, he accidentally shoots what is supposed to be a bird into water while hunting fish with them. Though not as funny as the quail hunt in Wedding Crashers (which was a much better movie), this moment is still hilarious in French Girl. For instance, Junior (Antoine Olivier Pilon), Sophie’s brother drags Gordon into an MMA square-off in town that ends up with him intervening accidentally knocking his future father-in-law out cold. Oops!

Making it all rather slapstick, in the same way as Ricky Stanicky which just streamed on Prime Video recently. Both have their ups and downs but we can’t let physical comedy die. That is until the running jokes in French Girl become monotonous, which is when Hudgens takes over as the main plot device as a femme fatale-ish woman, coming back into the picture after dating Sophie in its past life. You know what? He never knew of Gordon’s stay at Ruby’s place when he meets him at Quebec for dinner…

Hudgens definitely looks like a Food Network chef as she plays Ruby who wants to spotlight Sophie’s cooking and family home for her ongoing TV series. Anyone who has seen High School Musical or Tick, Tick… Boom! knows that Hudgens has some vocal abilities. She belts it out; she sings in French Girl also. At a relative’s funeral, during one of these occasions where Ruby sang a cappella, Sophie’s younger brother said “She’s better than Celine.” Well hey, at least writers-directors Woods and Wright are taking advantage of Hudgens’ skills aren’t they? Did you ever imagine seeing Rihanna play in Guava Island (a musical film from Prime Video) without singing?

All things considered, French Girl isn’t necessarily memorable or groundbreaking cinema even though it could be good for a light-hearted date night movie for people looking to unwind. And who doesn’t love the occasional dose of French language?

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