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Sex Is Comedy (18)

Review by: Graeme Kay | Rating: One

IN MAKING this movie about a day-in-the-life of a film-shoot, director Catherine Breillat (whose previous works include A Ma Soeur and Romance) said that she wanted to dispel the superficial notion, conveyed in many a vacuous 'making of' promotional TV 'special', that film-making is easy, a simple matter of following the script and telling the actors where to stand and what to do.

So what we get is a brittle, warts-'n'-all portrait of a frustrated director, Jeanne (Anne Parillaud) - clearly based on Breillat - trying to bully and/or charm her unco-operative cast into giving her the performances that she wants.

As well as battling with her charmless leading man, who enjoys a chemistry-free relationship with his leading lady, and virtually everyone else on the set, Jeanne must also deal with the fickleness of the weather and the somewhat disturbing fact that, as she discovers at the eleventh hour, the crucial scene in her movie simply does not work.

In someone else's hands this could make for an absorbing story, in which the characters come alive and connect with the audience.

Unfortunately, though, this is very much Breillat's baby, and, by accident or design, none of the assembled cast have the charisma to make them in any way appealing.

Their performances are never more than irritating , the writing uninspired, and what little humour there is too transient to lift the overwhelming air of negativity that shrouds the drama like a cold, soggy blanket.

In short; Sex is Comedy is an unengaging, self-indulgent and massively tedious piece of work that succeeds all too well in achieving its stated aim, not least by reducing the audience to the status of unloved and unwanted extras and making the film's running time of 92 minutes actually feel like a day.

Come back 'The Making of Star Wars', all is forgiven!

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