Le Coeur des hommes 2

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PARIS -- Four years ago, former film critic Marc Esposito, who used to run the French magazines Premiere and Studio, directed his debut feature "Le Coeur des hommes." After the dreadful "Toute la beaute du monde" in 2006, he chose to do a sequel to his first film. The huge success of this second "Coeur des hommes" -- which topped the French boxoffice and has attracted over a million spectators in two weeks -- should facilitate international sales, despite the fact that the first part didn't sell well abroad. Certainly one can enjoy the sequel (which is much better) without knowing the original. A foreign -- i.e., American -- remake is always a possibility.

The pattern is the same in both films, which centers on four longtime male friends and the women in their lives. Jeff is happily living an epicurean life with a much younger girl. Alex is married but falls for a married woman. Manu just got divorced and meets the right person. Antoine goes from one affair to the next, until his wife finds out about his cheating and forces him to divorce.

Love, passion and faithfulness are the issues addressed by the film, which is in this aspect a very French romantic comedy. It adopts a bittersweet tone that helps the credibilty of situations that are occasionally bigger than life. The key value here is friendship. Most sequences bring the four friends together, and their conversation is enlightened by very funny lines.

This pleasant comedy is well served by a well-balanced cast of favorite actors. Gerard Darmon's Jeff is the eldest. His dialogue is mainly composed of hilarious maxims such as, "Eternal love was invented when life expectancy was of 35 years," which he pronounces with the tone of the wise man who lived many lives.

Marc Lavoine, a popular romantic singer less known as an actor, plays Alex, a hypocrite with an infectious joie de vivre. The scene in which he says, a cigarette in hand, that if he stopped smoking he can stop seducing defines pretty well this character.

Bernard Campan, a renowned comedian, has the most dramatic part as Antoine, a true romantic who does find eternal love. Jean-Pierre Darroussin has the best dialogue and situations. His Manu is not far from the parts he has played for Robert Guediguian as a man who genuinely experiences real passion for two different women.

LE COEUR DES HOMMES 2
Pierre Javaux Prods.
Credits:
Writer/director: Marc Esposito
Producer: Pierre Javaux
Director of photography: Pascal Caubere
Production designer: Fabienne Guillot
Costume designer: Melanie Gautier
Editor: Benoit Alavoine
Music: Beatrice Thiriet.
Cast:
Antoine: Bernard Campan
Jeff: Gerard Darmon
Manu: Jean-Pierre Darroussin
Alex: Marc Lavoine
Lili: Fabienne Babe
Elsa: Zoe Felix
Jeanne: Valerie Kaprisky
Francoise: Ludmila Mikael
Karine: Valerie Stroh
Juliette: Florence Thomassin
Nanou: Catherine Wilkening
Running time -- 115 minutes
No MPAA rating
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