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:: The French Kissers (Les beaux gosses)

Sometimes you can only be surprised at what the cinema world throws at you. When you find out you are going to see a French film you don’t expect for one second that you are about to see the French version of films such as ‘American Pie’ or ‘Road Trip’. Yet that is the best way to describe ‘The French Kissers’ (‘Les Beaux Gosses’), the only difference is that ‘The French Kissers’ shows it’s American counterparts that it is possible to make a teenage comedy a little bit of cinematic brilliance.

‘The French Kissers’ follows Herve (Vincent Lacoste) and Camel (Anthony Sonigo) two French high school boys that simple aren’t getting enough attention from the opposite sex. Aside from having to deal with the regular teenage hang-ups of bullying and pimples, poor old Herve also has to endure his mother (Noemie Lvovsky) who shies away from no topics and is constantly embarrassing her son. The story really heats up however when Herve suddenly finds that he does have some female attention but is at a loss at how to deal with it.

So how does French director, Riad Sattouf manage to make a teenage comedy such an enjoyable film? That is easily answered. Because he ignores all the Hollywood clichés and does things that the Yanks would never consider doing. First of all he hasn’t gone with body (or facial) perfection in his two leads. While the sight of pimpled faces French-kissing on the big screen may have drawn some groans from the audience, it also seemed more realistic. Not surprising considering the characters of Herve and Camel are true representatives of the kind of people that would watch a film like this. Herve is your shy loser while Camel is a long-haired metal head that most girls would certainly keep away from at school. Once you lose the body-beautiful Hollywood actors the film automatically becomes more accessible to the average teenage boy because they feel like they are watching themselves on the screen.

The second thing that works for Sattouf is that his comedy works well but is also very natural… as an audience member you never find yourself thinking ‘gee that was a really forced laugh’. Sattouf really uses ‘The French Kissers’ to put a stamp on the film world. His style of comedy is unique. He takes the grit of a Larry Clarke film and mixes it beautifully for the crass humor of Kevin Smith, no mean feat but he pulls it off sensationally well.

I never thought I would see the day where I was listing a teenage comedy as one of the films of the year but I completely fell in love with ‘The French Kissers’. I found myself barracking for Herve and Camel, but more importantly this was one comedy that had me laughing all the way through. ‘The French Kissers’ is not only one of the films of the year, but shows Hollywood exactly how a comedy should be done!