Potiche review

A French trophy wife (“Potiche,” see) finds a new confidence and lease of life when she successfully takes the reigns of a (literal) umbrella company after her philandering husband loses control of its workers.

Catherine Deneuve is the centre of attention and rightly so; it is hard to imagine, in fact, that the picture would work at all without someone of her presence. Gerard Depardieu brings little of any worth to the table, apparently no longer caring for his craft to the extent he once did, and most of the rest of the cast is mediocre. Fabrice Luchini, however, as the cowardly crackpot husband and Karin Viard, as his secretary and bit-on-the-side, provide numerous humorous moments.

Based in the late 70s, complete with the glorious kitsch that goes along with the decade, the film is highly dependent on this to conjure a quirky, comical, traditionally French atmosphere. Highly dependent and over reliant. Vaguely quirky it is but it is missing an extra ingredient to lift it above mediocrity: good storytelling. It is predictable and insultingly clichéd, even though it explicitly plays with cliché, and it is fundamentally too lightweight to be anything particularly special.

2 out of 5

22nd Jun 2011 | Official site | On IMDb