Les Etats Unis d'Albert

In French, with English subtitles (2005)

Jack Dekker: "Partial amnesia. I'd give anything to forget Arizona and get back my virginity."

This is an absurd and occasionally raunchy screwball comedy. I laughed all the way through it.

It is 1926, and Valentino had just died. On his way to Los Angeles to become a movie star, young Albert (Eric Bruneau) meets and falls in love with a lovely, idealistic feminist Mormon named Grace (Emilie Dequenne). Circumstances strand Albert, dressed as Valentino's Sheik, in the desert with a lunatic golfer, Jack Dekker (Roy Dupuis), who has been ejected from an Arizona town because of his amorous exploits and a bad case of cooties. No, I'm not kidding.

Albert must deal with a romantic rival, a deranged killer, and the amorous ghost of his lecherous drama teacher. And Jack Dekker, of course. Roy was really a hoot. And I did mention raunchy, didn't I? Yes, he can do a strong, supporting role; in fact, I think he and his golf clubs walked off with this movie.

Celine Bonnier plays Hannah, a sexually frustrated woman whose husband is trying to set a world record for something that involves living in a boat positioned on top of a flagpole. Unfortunately, Hannah has severe vertigo. My favorite scene was actually pretty much the only Roy/Celine scene in the movie; he was making a valiant attempt to seduce her with words, and she was fondling a candle and clearly thinking of her husband instead. Roy's eyes were just amazing. (I know, I'm obsessed, but they really were.)

As funny as it was, I had a hard time writing about this one. Was it because I prefer Roy as a lead? Was it because his character is so goofy that it was hard to get a handle on it? And finally, I have a question. How does Roy manage to get nearly naked in so many of his movies? Public demand?

Three out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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