Les Dangereux [The Dangerous] (2002)

(In theaters, December 2002) Yikes. I can understand that black comedy isn’t a familiar genre in French-Canada (where the preference goes more to crude popular comedy), but it’s not an excuse to mess up this film so badly. While the film enjoys a relatively flawless second quarter (which compares more or less with such films as Snatch), everything goes to hell as the movie advances toward its conclusion. This simple tale of kidnapping can’t be bothered to maintain an even tone throughout, nor to respect the intelligence of the audience: The staging become more and more ludicrous, the finale is extended beyond anyone’s reasonable patience and the whole thing ultimately ends in a muddled mess. Headliner Stéphane Rousseau grandstands without any adult supervision and Véronique Cloutier is allowed to torture viewers through two musical numbers. (On the other hand, she’s pretty cute… but not enough to make us forgive everything.) The stereotypes are unworthy of existing in a movie released in 2002, and so are some of the plot shortcuts used in lieu of clever plotting. (Can you believe the “lost glasses” shtick? Me neither.) Oh, it’s not as if the entire film is unpleasant, but the tremendous waste of potential here is almost offensive. We’ve got enough stupid American movies up here; we don’t need to make our own.

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