Copacabana -- Film Review

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CANNES -- One can only imagine the evil deeds that Isabelle Huppert must have committed in an earlier life, or possibly some hugely mounting debts, that have led her to accept the principal role in this completely misbegotten film by French director Marc Fitoussi. In it, she plays Babou, one of those obnoxious "free spirits" who fight the power by wearing funny clothes, taking in homeless people, and refusing to hold a steady job.

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Her daughter Esmeralda, who can't wait to join the hated bourgeoisie, decides that she won't invite her wayward mother to her wedding, thus precipitating the ultra-high-concept that motivates the film's plot, such as it is.

Alas, the writing is awful -- both long-winded and never funny -- and both the characters and the situations are either completely implausible or completely cliched. Even the scenes are badly constructed, and just when you think a scene is over, it starts up again. Psychological motivations are confusing and/or contradictory.

The many references to pop culture -- both French and international -- fall flat, and everything in the film feels forced. As for the title and the Brazilian theme that fitfully reappears throughout -- better not to ask. Let's just hope that Huppert has something more worthy of her considerable talents land in her lap the next time she goes looking for a film to star in.
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