Title : La Boum
La Boum
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Year : 1980
Role : Victoire (Vic) Beretton
Director : Claude Pinoteau
Language : French



May 13, 1983 "LA BOUM," A DOMESTIC FARCE By JANET MASLIN

FOR American audiences, to whom French films once represented the ultimate in chic, it"s going to be something of a shock to watch a Gallic comedy like Claude Pinoteau"s "Boum" - one that takes its inspiration less from the great French films of yesteryear than from American television situation comedies. Not that "La Boum" isn"t entertaining. In its pleasantly predictable way, it is. It"s just that a French heroine who keeps a Muppet poster on her bedroom wall or who has the kind of madcap family that might ordinarily be found on a hit television series, seems to be something of a cultural hybrid. Her parents" good-natured philandering is the only recognizably French contribution to the formula.

"La Boum," which opens today at the Plaza, follows a pretty, pouty 13-year-old named Vic (Sophie Marceau) through the first of what will undoubtedly be many romances. ("La Boum II" is already in the works.) She has a best friend who claims to see 10 American movies a week, a foxy great-grandma who knows everyone at La Coupole and parents who are approaching their first marital separation, although not even this unhappy development is allowed to damage the film"s lighthearted mood. Vic also has a wild crush on a certain gar,con, whom her great-grandma (Denise Grey) is sporting enough to photograph on the sly. Giant likenesses of the handsome boyfriend soon mingle with the Muppets on Vic"s bedroom wall.

Mr. Pinoteau intersperses Vic"s romantic adventures with those of her mother, an ambitious and somewhat high-strung illustrator named Fran,coise (Brigitte Fossey), whose dentist husband (Claude Brasseur) has been casually unfaithful to her. The dentist"s deception is revealed after his mistress, in order to induce her lover to stay overnight, phones Fran,coise and says the dentist has broken his leg in an auto accident. This leads to a fake cast, a deliberately wrecked car and, finally, to more lies than the dentist can handle. When the parents" troubles become apparent to their daughter, though, she"s less upset than might be expected. Her first concern is for how their separation will affect the "boum," or teen-age party, that she has been planning.

There are two long party scenes in the film, both of them capturing a teen-age ambience nicely and both loaded with jokes about the generation gap, which is the film"s subject to the extent that it has one. At one "boum," the host"s parents are caught sneaking into the kitchen by their horrified son, who complains that it will spoil the party if anyone learns that grownups are around; the parents apologize meekly, explaining that they were hungry. Meanwhile, a gang of dads in trenchcoats gathers at a pay phone near the site of the party, determined to get through to their daughters (who are, of course, tying up the line). "I"m going up there," one father bravely declares, as if this were the Charge of the Light Brigade. Actually, that battle may have been less daunting than this one.

The humor of "La Boum" is all of this cheerfully routine sort, and for the most part, it keeps moving. Mr. Brasseur and Miss Fossey help to make the parents as sympathetic and interesting as is possible, and Miss Grey makes the spunky great-grandma a lot more bearable than she might have been. Miss Marceau is convincingly obstinate and bubbly by turns, depending on whether she"s with her parents or with her friends, which certainly makes her a convincing teen-ager.

The slangy subtitles make the kids" already Yankee-influenced behavior seem even more so. When one girl pronounces somebody as handsome as Alain Delon, the titles declare him "as handsome as Paul Newman."

Family Farce
LA BOUM, directed by Claude Pinoteau; written (French with English subtitles) by Daniele Thompson and Claude Pinoteau; camera, Ed- mond Sechan; edited by Marie-Joseph Yoyotte; music by Vladimir Cosma; produced by Alain Poire; A Gaumont International Productions/ Marcel Dassault co-production; released by Triumph Films, a Columbia/Gaumont Company. At the Plaza, 58th Street, east of Madison Avenue. Running time: 100 minutes. This film has no rating.

Francois . . . . . Claude Brasseur
Francoise . . . . . Brigitte Fossey
Vic . . . . . Sophie Marceau
Poupette . . . . . Denise Grey
Vanessa . . . . . Dominique Lavanant
Eric . . . . . Bernard Giraudeau

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