Time Out says
After an unscrupulous businessman (Donnadieu) acquires a Parisian music hall and shuts it down to make way for new construction, theater manager Pigoil (Jugnot) pulls a page straight out of the Judy Garland--Mickey Rooney playbook, gathering his friends and neighbors to revive the place. In case the stakes don’t feel high enough already, the success of the theater is Pigoil’s only hope of regaining custody of his accordionist son, Jojo (Perrin).
Director Christophe Barratier (Les Choristes) seems to be making a bid to be France’s latest master of sweet nostalgia with a musical bent, although Paris 36’s rich color palette, deliberate artificiality and general air of whimsy suggest more comparisons to Amlie than, say, Renoir’s French Cancan. Sentimentality reigns supreme: Can the fiery socialist radical (Cornillac) win the heart of a talented chanteuse (Arnezeder)? Will the singer be tempted by better offers at “real” theaters? Will there be a tearful reunion of pre and fils? Do you really have to ask?—Hank Sartin