2011 Certificate: pg

Synopsis

Hapless Le Havre hotel clerk (Dominique Abel) is settling down for the night shift when his reverie is disturbed by a flame-haired, shoeless waif (Fiona Gordon) searching for a room. It turns out that she's a fairy - or possibly a mental patient - and she grants him three wishes... and then disappears. Smitten, his journey to find her takes in beach-dwelling immigrants, a dog-loving Brit and a myopic barman. The funny peculiar triumvirate of Abel, Gordon and Bruno Romy - reunite for a third Jacques Tati-influenced journey into the absurd.

Directors

  • Dominique Abel

  • Fiona Gordon

  • Bruno Romy

Cast

  • Dominique Abel

  • Fiona Gordon

  • Philippe Martz

  • Bruno Romy

Review

After Iceberg and Rumba, followers of the Belgian, Australian and French comedy trio of Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy will pretty much know the drill.

The absurdist triumvirate have won a small but dedicated following for their deranged comedy romances that embrace off-kilter scenarios with a gusto more Benny Hill than Jacques Tati.

This is one of their more earthbound confections although it does feature a galumphing fairy (Gordon) who bestows three wishes on Abel's daydreaming night porter after stopping him choking on a tomato sauce bottle top.

Left with one wish unfulfilled, Abel goes in search of the flame-haired apparition who - it turns out - has been sectioned in a local mental hospital from which she triumphantly flees.

Even at a trim ninety minutes the unrelenting whimsy gets increasingly wearisome with the threesome progressing to resemble a rather smug Gallic version of The League of Gentleman's horrific touring theatre group Legz Akimbo.

There's a blind-as-a-bat barman (Romy) whose myopia is about as funny as shingles, a trio of illegal immigrants living in an abandoned car on the beach (Why? No idea) and a dog-loving English tourist speaking phrasebook French.

There's no doubt Abel, Gordon and Romy have refined a comedy style that is completely their own...but it can still come across as a rather self-satisfied private joke.

The strengths include the decision to shoot in Le Havre, a French port city that offers stunning industrial vistas and an irrepressible energy that can either inspire...or drain the will to watch.

In other words, a fairy that can't quite cast a spell.