Change of Plans -- Film Review



The next time you're invited to a French dinner party, you might want to give it a pass, if the tedious proceedings in "Change of Plans" are any indication.

Depicting the endlessly complex and convoluted emotional entanglements among the numerous characters, Daniele Thompson's comedy of manners doesn't quite deliver on its tasty promise.

Co-written with her son and frequent collaborator, Christopher (also part of the acting ensemble), the film, like an unfortunately high number of current offerings from France, is mainly notable for its showcasing of its terrific cast, which includes Patrick Chesnais, Marina Hands, Karin Viard, Patrick Bruel, Dany Boon, Marina Fois and Emmanuelle Seigner.

As might be expected, the onscreen goings-on encompass adultery -- real, prospective and imagined -- health issues, divorce, midlife crises and did I mention adultery?

The film's chief imaginative conceit is switching back and forth chronologically between the dinner party and a year later, with the subsequent events forecast in ways subtle and blatant.

Unfortunately, the profusion of characters and situations is more than the film can comfortably handle, especially when its observations rarely rise above the level of banality.

As if aware that its culinary delicacies are of more interest than the story line, the film's end credits include a recipe for the onscreen main course of bigos, a traditional Polish stew, credited to Seigner's real-life husband, Roman Polanski.

Opened: Friday, Aug. 27 (IFC Films)
Production: Thelma Films, Alter Films
Cast: Karin Viard, Dany Boon, Marina Fois, Patrick Bruel, Emmanuelle Seigner, Laurent Stocker, Pierre Arditi, Christopher Thompson, Marina Hands, Blanca Li, Patrick Chesnais
Director: Daniele Thompson
Screenwriters: Daniele Thompson, Christopher Thompson
Producer: David Poiret
Director of photography: Jean-Marc Fabre
Editor: Sylvie Landra
Production designer: Michele Abbe
Costume designer: Catherine Leterrier
Music: Nicola Piovani
No rating, 100 minutes