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Film Review: Les Herbes Folles (2009)

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

It all starts off intriguingly enough: woman is mugged of handbag; man finds discarded purse and personal papers and in typically male fashion wonders if he can possibly engineer a romantic meeting with the victim Mme Muir (Sabine Azeima) So far so good.

And then it all goes a bit pear-shaped really. In fact, the longer it goes on, the more rotten this film becomes until it starts to reek of foul and loathsome things. What the heck happened here?

The trouble is the leading man - he of the original noble gesture who is nevertheless seemingly determined to exploit his own act of generosity. Andre Dussolier however is no Richard Gere. Maybe in the distant past he could have been classed as a hearthrob, but not his 2009 incarnation. Think: craggy grandad. Veteran of the French screen, Dussolier was 63 when making this film.

It's not Dussolier's age that is the problem, but rather the character's lack of redeeming features. Georges Palet is about as insipid as they come. He's also grouchy, tetchy and well let's be honest, totally lacking in charisma. This rather awkward reality makes much of what follows rather hard to swallow.

Having returned the lost purse with the help of wide-eyed local gendarme Bernard de Bordeaux (Mathieu Amalric) the hero embarks on what can only be termed a stalking campaign in the shape of nuisance phone calls. Though thankful for the returned wallet, dentist Mme Muir declines to take the 'relationship' any further. Married Monsieur Palet is non-plussed. Anyway he has a much younger wife already. Is he therefore just stalking perhaps for pleasure? It is one of many such loose ends in this film.

Come to think of it, why the heck does anybody in this film act the way they do? You will rarely encounter a film in which the whole cast of protagonists appears to lack even an ounce of motivation - it's as if the writer decided to create a screenplay deliberately devoid of reason. He/she certainly succeeded with this concoction.

Anyway, warned by the police to lay off the nuisance phone calls, Palet shrugs. It's all over then. Only it isn't. For reasons not entirely clear, Mme Muir now begins to stalk her stalker. And what is the reaction of monsieur Palet's wife to all these phone calls and what-nots? Rien! There isn’t one! She simply invites the by-now crazed dentist with the punk-rock ginger hair into the family home - as you do. The dentist, you see, has become obsessed with her stalker. Nice twist.

Meanwhile on his way home from the cinema, the irresistible Palet spots the dentist's car outside his home. She's here! Being a grouchy 63-year old sex magnet does have its drawbacks - women tend to assail your home when all you want is a quite cup of cocoa….

Waiting outside the house in the car is Mme Muir's dentist partner. Never one to let an opportunity slip randy Palet simply leans into the car and starts to snog the delectable dentist. Can any women resist this craggy love machine?

By this point the film has become seriously silly. Mme Muir now decides she wants to take the Palets out for the day - a perfectly reasonable request from the stalked turned stalker. Madame Palet readily agrees. She's that type of women, apparently.

To make the film that little more random it transpires Mme Muir is also, wait for it, a spitfire pilot . . . And so the threesome make their weary way to an airfield. Being a 63-year old, (50 according to the wacky script!) Georges needs to take a pee before taking to the air, but can't seem to manage to zip himself up properly. The cave is open, but the beast slumbers . . .

As Mme Muir loops the loop with the Palets (as you do), the poor women is distracted by George's open fly. However, taking your eyes off the wheel is really not recommended, not when you are several thousand feet up in the air . .

And so it finally ends, but many are the questions left dangling in the kerosene-infused air utmost of which is: what exactly was the point of this infernal, ruddy film?