February 9th, 2011 | by AARON MESH Movies & Television |

The Umbrellas of Deneuve: PIFF Opening-Night Film Potiche Reviewed

PoticheThe Last Days of Disco: Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu. - Courtesy of the Portland International Film Festival

Having spent the morning studying our comprehensive coverage of the Portland International Film Festival's first week, you're doubtless eager to read what we think of Thursday's opening night movie, Potiche. Lucky you: The critic's screener arrived 15 minutes before our press deadline, so after a filling meal of PIFF, we sat down for some French dessert. It was...gooey.

Potiche

WW Critic's Score: 54

[FRANCE] Catherine Deneuve takes the reins of the factory run by her piggish husband (Fabrice Luchini). It makes umbrellas. Yep, as in Cherbourg. François Ozon's winking, 1977-set gender skirmish is painted in the Technicolors of Demy's musical, though it also looks a lot like the set of The Brady Bunch. The title roughly means "trophy wife," but the exact translation is "vase"—indeed, interior decoration and wardrobe steal the show, with a shaggy green telephone earning a big laugh. Speaking of cherished heirlooms: Here comes Gerard Depardieu, growing more adorable the more he resembles the Muppet Sweetums. Potiche loosens up a bit in its second half, with a Sturges-worthy joke involving La Deneuve and a long-haul trucker. Maybe the farce could stand to be a bit more acidic and a lot less mellow; maybe that's my old anti-middlebrow reflex acting up again. I shouldn't be hypocritical: If Potiche were an episode of That '70s Show, I'd probably be more enthusiastic. It could use a laugh track. AARON MESH.  Newmark Theater, 1111 SW Broadway. 7:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 10. $25.

 
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