Mandibles

If you don’t swat this fly, you’ll get a real kick out of it.

Mandibles” is a French comedy that’s obviously inspired by The Farrelly Brothers. One of the elements from those comedy geniuses is how animals are used for comedic effects. Only this time, writer/director Quentin Dupieux (“Deerskin,” “Rubber”) doesn’t use dogs or cows, but rather a fly the size of a dog. And he also writes the main characters as knuckleheads in the vein of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels and Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid. That’s really how you can tell he wants study Farrellyism, and “Mandibles”delivers.

The movie begins with a beach bum named Manu (Gregoire Ludig), who is promised $500 if he delivers a suitcase to a man named Michel-Michel. No looking inside, it’s not his problem, and no questions asked. Then he comes across his buddy Jean-Gab (David Marsais), also jobless, who tags along with him. However, they both hear something in the car, and it’s coming from the suitcase. So they pull over, hesitate on opening the trunk, and find a giant fly inside.

They decide to tame the fly and use it to make big money, maybe even more so than Michel-Michel was offering. So, they occupy an old man’s (Bruno Lochet) trailer, and name the fly Dominique. Then, Manu burns down the trailer, and they find themselves crashing with a girl named Cecile (India Hair), who thinks Manu is an old friend of hers.

The annoying scenes of “Mandibles” involves Cecile’s friend Agnes (Adele Exarchopoulos from “Blue is the Warmest Color”), who shouts because of a head injury from a skiing accident. She constantly shouts at the two knuckleheads. She thinks Manu was trying to hit on her, and she thinks Jean-Gab has a dog. Her problem: her parents hate animals in their room. The Farrelly Brothers can offend disabled characters, as proven in “Kingpin,””Dumb and Dumber,” and “There’s Something About Mary,” etc., but there really isn’t a need for this character, because she’s exhausting. In fact, she provides, as Roger Ebert would say: “the fingernails on a blackboard effect.” Even Cecile admits she’s unbearable.

Aside from that downside, “Mandibles” is a funny film that uses the two simple-mind friends as optimistic and determined dreamers, who find themselves transcending from Point A to Point B. The movie runs for an hour and 17 minutes, and yet, it’s still enough time to see Ludig and Marsais portray the main characters in a goofy fashion. The former is reluctant about the fly taming proposal at first, while the latter decides to make it a reality, and yet, these two are determined enough to pull it off.

The fly is made with props and pyrotechnics, instead of CGI, which is refreshing. Let me be honest. If it was a giant spider like in “Eight Legged Freaks” or “Tarantula,” I probably wouldn’t see this movie, so I’m glad it was a fly. Every scene with it is unpredictable and wacky all the same, and if someone swat it, it would have been too obvious. “Mandibles” isn’t obvious; it’s a smart movie about dumb people.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

In Select Theaters and On Demand This Friday



Categories: comedy, Fantasy, Foreign

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