MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS

R
Reviews

Yvan (Yvan Attal), a successful sportswriter, is pissed off at the attention heaped on famous actress wife Charlotte (Charlotte Gainsbourg) by her adoring public. When she starts shooting a film in London opposite the suave Terence Stamp (and parts must be in short supply if he accepted this one), he goes into a jealous tailspin. So convinced is Yvan that Charlotte is getting it on with old Terence, he all but talks her into it. In a sorry excuse for a movie, Charlotte and Yvan split, kiss and make up.

Along the way we're subjected to an absurd acting class Yvan takes, presumably to better comprehend his wife's line of work. Of course, the class ingenue falls for him and he's caught by Charlotte smooching on the sidewalk in front of their apartment. There's an offensive and unrelated subplot involving Yvan's pregnant Jewish sister and husband fighting over whether to circumcise the baby. We get some nice, darkly gleaming shots of a wet, nocturnal London--but way too many of the Eurostar bearing the sulking Ivan back to Paris. The super-cool editing and flashy pans give the film a surface allure it can't support. And in a stale critique of celebrity culture, Charlotte answers the banal questions of journalists with the same canned response.

Apparently writer-director Attal thought he need only cast himself and his movie-star wife sitting around in their drawers to justify a film. Attal, with his curious notched ear, wears throughout an expression of bored disdain--sort of what an American tourist might see on the face of a Parisian he's asking for directions. Though darkly gamine, Gainsbourg can't touch the Rita Hayworth-style glamour queens parading across the screen during the opening credits. The misused Stamp rides above the indignities, and barely gets out of his bathrobe, as if he'd never left home to play this part. Most annoying, perhaps, is Attal's disingenuous pique over his wife's ability to snag a table at fully booked restaurants. He has our condolences.