Year: 2020
Production Co: Chi-Fou-Mi Productions
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Writer: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: David Marsais, Grégoire Ludig

I'm not the most devoted fan of Quentin Dupieux's movies, but I watched this one because I think of him as a satirist, using dark comedy as a metaphor for something (usually hypocritical) in contemporary society.

Rubber was about the sometimes-parasitic relationship between entertainment and the masses, I know I've seen Wrong but don't remember a thing about it, and Reality was an exercise in fitting shifting spatio-temporal puzzle pieces together that was clever if ultimately unsatisfying.

But however much you like his films you can't help thinking about them, and I hoped for something similarly weird and thought provoking from Mandibles.

No such luck. The premise is indeed outlandish and imaginative – two idiots find a giant housefly in the boot of a car and decide to try and train it to help them commit petty crime – but everything that goes on on screen is ironically clear cut and simple, especially compared to Dupieux's other films.

All it does is tell the story of two doltish petty criminals and losers somewhere in modern day Belgium, Jean-Gab (David Marsais) and Manu (Grégoire Ludig).

Jean-Gab has taken on a job from a dodgy accomplice to deliver a suitcase to a contact for quick cash. When they have to break into another car to make the trip thanks to their own stupidity, they hear noises from the boot, get out to look and find a common fly the size of a cocker spaniel tied up inside.

Jean-Gab is too dumb to have any real ideas, so when Manu suggests they try and train it to fly into banks to lift loot, he readily agrees. They need a base of operations, so they take over a remote caravan in the desert, kicking the previous occupant out but burning it to the ground in short order and rendering themselves homeless again.

And when their car runs out of petrol they have to hitch hike, picked up by a group of cool twentysomething friends, one of whom is convinced Jean-Gab is an old school friend of hers (he's not).

In one of the only absurd touches Dupieux's other film are replete with, an EMT who shows up at one point at the house where the group of friends have insisted Jean-Gab and Manu stay with them is also played by a cleaner-cut version of Marsais – he's the one the young woman actually went to school with, and that's what blows the guys' cover.

In another one, one of the group, played by Adele Exarchopoulos (who was so delicious in Blue Is The Warmest Color years ago), plays a highly-strung young woman who yells everything, apparently not realising her volume is excessive.

Aside from those two weird motifs, nothing else that goes on seems to be saying anything like Dupieux's other movies do. Without such flourishes it needed something more, and the really fatal flaw of the whole thing is that even though it's a comical set-up and the characters are all in a comedy, it's simply not funny.

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