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The French Kissers

Year: 2009
Production Co: Les Films des Tournelles
Director: Riad Sattouf
Writer: Riad Sattouf/Mark Syrigas
Cast: Vincent Lacoste, Anthony Sonigo, Alice Trémolière

You might think because this film is French it's a bit more serious or dramatic than it really is. In fact it's a lot like an American teen comedy, but with more realistic characters (and an American movie wouldn't show teenagers French kissing like this movie does). The characters are all young, slouchy, barely inarticulate and selfish – in other words, perfect teenagers in any language or part of the world.

With his goofy death metal fan friend Camel, Hervé wants nothing more than to get laid. But with his acne, goofy walk and wooly jumper badly in need of a good wash he doesn't have much chance. He can't even jerk off in peace without his single Mum bursting in. But when pretty Aurore inexplicably takes a shine to Hervé she'll become the first love he doesn't know he has.

The humour is in the sardonic script and the way this isn't a Hollywood cast of teenagers where even the nerdy sidekicks have sex appeal. Even the winsome Aurore isn't the perfect angel you expect, as grotty and dumb as the other kids around her at times.

It's a funny look at growing up through a different cultural lens than you're used to and aims at the age of the cast depicted rather than 10 year olds. And once again I took note of the particular French mode of expression – they seem to be a far less linguistically expressive people than Americans, every line deadpan from faces that hardly change expression.

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