The Car Keys
Time Out says
Mon Jul 4 2005This French ‘comedy’ begins with a long montage of various producers – Alain Sarde, Claude Berri et al – reacting with visibly little enthusiasm to a guy behind the camera pitching a 90-minute film about a man who’s searching for his car keys, only to find, finally, that they’re in his pocket. Then comes an even longer montage of actors reacting with outright hostility – angry nons all round – to the unseen hustler. Finally we see the pest in person: Laurent Baffie, writer, producer and director of what will turn out to be – surprise! – a film about a man searching for his car keys, only to find…In his quest Baffie (for it is he) is joined by a likewise deeply unengaging Daniel Russo, who veers between blustering rage and fond acceptance of the bizarre byways Baffie’s shaggy-dog narrative takes them to. For yes, this is absurdist-surrealist-(post)modernist fare: Baffie’s Parisian pad has an aquarium loo and a door on to a Mediterranean beach; helicopters appear out of empty skies to rescue the duo from château-slavery; Gérard Depardieu runs a fromagerie; live action yields temporarily to animation; folk offer ‘spontaneous’ vox-pop comments on topics touched on by the film. Absurdist-surrealist-(post)modernist it may be; funny it’s not. The press notes say ‘this sublime satirical comedy’ was a huge domestic hit – hard to credit, but if so, comedy travels far less successfully than I thought. I did laugh once (but can’t now recall at what); otherwise, I’d probably have had more fun peeling potatoes.