There are “film festival” movies, pictures so odd that there’s no audience for them outside of “The Festival Circuit,” and there are student films, which are unpolished and indulgent for a reasons, and there are even student “film festival” films — indulgent onanism somehow interesting enough to gain entry to a film fest, here and there.
“Like a Dirty French Novel” is almost a whole new thing, a nonsensical mishmash in the episodic, possibly interconnected “stories” mold. “Pulp Fiction,” “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Sin City” were examples of this that worked, some more than others.
“Like a Dirty French Novel” doesn’t.
A seriously random, badly-acted (as a rule), with lines recited rather than “performed,” “stories” that lead nowhere with characters that aren’t relatable — to the viewer or reality in general, here’s a “film” that has it all. Or nothing to recommend it, to be more precise.
Sex and sex work and phone sex and porn kind of weave through it, not so much a “theme” as well, “something to put in our movie.”
Florid, deranged monologues, random action — a kidnapping, mistaken identity, car theft, “It’s quicksand, it’s QUICKsand!” — feigned “erotic” dancing, a mysterious phone-sex caller, Halloween-masked “observers, all set against a “vertiginous pandemic.”
All these “stories,” not one of them worth following, not a one amusing, titillating or remotely entertaining. “Tied together?” Not really.
The upshot? Unwatchable twaddle. Clever title, though.
Rating: unrated violence, sex, nudity
Cast: Laura Urgelles, Amanda Viola, Jennifer Daly, Brittany Sampson, Robby Valls, Aaron Bustos, Dan Rojay, Arko Miro
Credits: Directed by Mike Cuenca, script by Mike Cuenca, Ashlee Elfman, Dan Rojay. A Bldv. du Cinema release.
Running time: 1:18