C'est la Vie!

COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 57min (French with subtitles)

STARRING : Jean-Pierre Bacri, Jean-Paul Rouve, Gilles Lellouche, Eye Haidara, Suzanne Clément

For worse or for worser: Haidara and Bacri

It is a truth universally acknowledged that weddings are a logistical headache for the bride and groom. But what about the reception catering staff? As the eye of the celebratory storm of une grande affaire for 200 in a 17th-century chateau, fed-up planner Max (Bacri, going a mile a minute) is tossed every which way by forces beyond his control. Like Scar in The Lion King, Max is surrounded by idiots. His 2IC, Adèle (Haidara), is a hothead. The wedding singer with whom she’s feuding (Lellouch) is an unsatisfactory replacement with an inconvenient ego. The photographer (Rouve), an old friend of Max, hired as a favour, is a touchy glutton. The waitstaff, one of whom has a history with the bride, are objecting to their period costumes. Max’s not-so-secret girlfriend (Clément) has had enough of his wife. The chateau’s electrical circuits are dodgy. And that’s before the real trouble starts.


The French are synonymous with farce, and directors and co-writers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano have no problem keeping the fizz coming. With obstacles thick on the ground, the ensemble cast, like their beset characters, have their ducking-and-diving cut out for them. They’re up for it, too, barely pausing for breath as the evening ticks crazily away. The combined effect is fun, if not hysterically funny, with some lower notes when Max starts to crack, an absurd crescendo that feels just right and a sweet, can-do spirit that pulls the night together when its thread could well have been lost.