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

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