18 June 2021.
PETER RABBIT 2 – The Runaway **
Doesn’t everyone love Peter Rabbit? We certainly did when the first one in this franchise was released in the spring of 2018, in those carefree pre-Covid years. I gave it ***1/2 then, and wrote this in the intro: “All is right with the world as long as we get films like this which make us feel as high as a kite, warm in our hearts and as optimistic as Peter himself.” It was an energizing delight, for kids from 4 to 94.
This second one is not quite that. The stars are the same (Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson), the format is still live actors with animated animals, and Will Gluck is still the director, so what’s missing? As usual the culprit has to be the script, the very spine of any film. Even though it’s expanded Peter’s antics to city life and the naughty temptations lurking there, it tries too hard to be both cutesy adventure and worthy morals, and Gleeson’s (son of the great Brendan) uptight character is sillier and more aggravating this time around.
It will be fine for the kiddies who may not care about the artistic quality and who so enjoy these lovable, fuzzy critters, so see it with them at the Cine17, the only cinema showing in its original English version.
UN TOUR CHEZ MA FILLE **1/2 (vo French)
This French comedy is a nonsensical spoof about family, but forgivable due to the presence of the super-talented Josiane Balasko who has since 1973 been an actress in both film and theater, alongside her career as a scriptwriter, director and author. She was part of La troupe du Splendid, which included Thierry Lhermitte, Gérard Jugnot, Christian Clavier and Michel Blanc, who became famous with their hilarious “Les Bronzés” films in the late 1970s.
Having been nominated 7 times for a César, and winning twice, she has illuminated countless roles such as “Trop belle pour toi” in 1989 with Gérard Depardieu; “Gazon maudit” in 1995, which she also wrote and directed, playing a lesbian truck driver alongside Alain Chabat; or a very troubled mother in François Ozon’s superb 2018 “Grace à Dieu”. In almost one hundred films, she has moved between bit parts and starring roles in both comedies and dramas, always true to her characters.
As she does here in this yarn about a difficult mother who has come to stay with her married daughter while her apartment is being renovated. There are all sorts of mishaps and misunderstandings in the style of a French farce, so all’s well that ends well, however obvious. It’s a light moment of fun with seasoned players such as Mathilde Seigner and Line Renaud as the daughter and grandmother. And Balasko once again rises above it all.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.