APRÈS VOUS "Sacré bleu! Une langoustine!"
Après Vous dir. Salvadori
Opens Fri July 8
Fox Tower

I'm probably one of four Francophiles in my age group and income bracket, and I realize that it's an unfashionable and pretentious affinity. But whatever--I love the goddamn French. I love croissants, and Brigitte Bardot, and tossing off the occasional "Je ne sais quoi" like I just got back from the fucking Riviera. I did not, however, love Après Vous.

In a staggeringly ill-conceived bit, the film opens with a suicide attempt. Now, suicide isn't necessarily incompatible with the romantic comedy genre, but the partnership requires some finesse, death being sort of inherently unfunny and sad. But it's safe to say that in the grand misstep that is Après Vous, finesse is nowhere to be found.

Recapping the plot feels a lot like hitting myself repeatedly in the face with a miniature statue of the Eiffel Tower, but here goes: The suicidal Louis (José Garcia) is rescued from what would have been a quick and merciful death by the meddling do-gooder Antoine (Daniel Auteuil, who sucks it up here despite compelling past work in The Girl on the Bridge and The Closet). Antoine takes Louis home and decides to help him straighten out his life; Louis, meanwhile, weeps quietly and incessantly. Antoine decides that if he's going to help Louis (which for some reason he's hell-bent on doing, despite the fact that Louis is a dippy a-hole), he has to find Louis' ex: The woman who broke his heart, and is presumably the cause of all this crybaby horseshit.

Antoine also finds Louis a job at a fancy restaurant, where Louis ceases weeping long enough to demonstrate how horrifyingly socially inept he is, rendering it completely and utterly unbelievable when Antoine locates his lovely, normal-seeming ex-girlfriend Blanche (Sandrine Kiberlain). (This is, of course, totally whack: As a rule, pretty, normal people don't hook up with chubby, crybaby psychos. Not even in France.) Antoine falls promptly in love with Blanche himself, yet inexplicably continues trying to hook her back up with Louis. It doesn't really make any sense, and neither does the happy ending, and even the actors seem relieved when it finally ends.