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Farid, an Algerian turned informant for the French police, is found murdered in a small French town. Two offbeat and unethical female investigators (a fercely authoritarian Isabelle Huppert paired with an inquisitive and voyeuristic Sandrine Kimberlain) are brought in to investigate the possibility of police involvement with the murder. Meanwhile the seemingly degenerate cop with a heart of gold, Mendes, acquires an eager, albeit naive Algerian informant, Younes, who quickly gets into trouble. Serge Bozon's TIP TOP is a sharp and witty absurdist political farce that will leave audiences with more questions about modern day France than answers.
Yes, Steve Martin is correct, and especially so when the folks try way too hard. Sure it is appealing, on paper at least, to watch such talented actresses as Huppert and Kiberlain do physical comedy shtick and exaggerated takes, but this sloppy mixture of police procedural, slapstick and social "awareness" (with its heavy emphasis on the always timely France/Algeria connection theme and ethnic diaspora in France) is awful.
Main subtext for laughs is exploiting the funny aspect of kinky sex, which director Serge Bozon uses as a crutch for laughs much the same way a desperate (though immensely more successful) auteur like Mel Brooks resorts to fart jokes and other bathroom humor in a pinch. The sight gag of Isabelle Huppert loving the blood dripping from her injured nose on onto her tongue is milked (it would have been funny if just done once) and the whole BDSM material is thoroughly incompetent. I would have been amused had the great Bulle Ogier, who in the golden age of the '70s competed with Huppert for juicy screen roles, been cast instead, given her landmark work in Barbet Schroeder's "Maitresse".
So I write this loser off as merely a Gallic entry in the burgeoning genre I call the Cinema of Facetiousness - a tongue-in-cheek approach to the medium that has given us thousands of terrible films by untalented (though lauded, don't ask me why) practitioners ranging from Tarantino to the Coens. My theory is that the distancing effect of making fun of everything, including one's own work, is a crutch that incompetents rely upon to shield themselves from criticism -you know, "I was only kidding" as the constant copout. So Quentin and his legion of idiots will never be taken seriously or suffer the serious analysis & critique afforded the Cinema giants on the order of Renoir, Clair, Bergman, Antonioni, Satyajit Ray and Mizoguchi.
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