After its final accordion wheeze, you either found Amlie to be the most adorable thing ever or a toxic bonbon of cutie-pants fairy dust. (Guess where I stood.) That movie’s director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, continues to make the same whirligig of a film; reality’s messiness never intrudes on him, and he seems perfectly fine with that. Even though Micmacs concerns itself with a pair of venal weapons manufacturers, it feels sprung directly from the insides of a cuckoo clock. All the characters chirp their one happy note at just the right moments, and you wake up in an artificial Paris that ought to insult any self-respecting Francophile.
Our hero, Bazil (the sad-faced Boon), works in what must be the last palatial, well-lit video store in the city. We see in flashback that a land mine robbed him of his father; call it a screenwriter’s irony, then, that this movie geek is himself accidentally shot in the head by a chase scene’s stray bullet. Bazil survives but is soon homeless (the comfortable kind, with scrappy smiles and lots of found food). Taking revenge, he assembles a ragtag team that, among other types, includes a friendly contortionist (Ferrier). The sequences in Micmacs are contorted too: impressive and bendy and aggressively shallow.—Joshua Rothkopf
See also Take five
Watch the trailer