Super cop Jean Santi (Vincent Elbaz) busts in on a gang of nefarious criminals and wreaks mayhem upon them. That is the story that Yvonne (Adele Haenel) tells her son Theo (Octave Bossuet) about her late husband hero. This image will tarnish badly when Yvonne learns that her husband was corrupt and an innocent man has done 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit in “The Trouble with You.”
At the start of director and co-scribe Pierre Salvadori’s cop flick – the manic opening sequence is seriously violent and funny, too – I was not sure what was to come from the story by Salvadori, Benot Graffin and Benjamin Charbit. What starts out as a cop movie slowly turns into a tale about a woman who learns the truth about the man she loved and tries to right the wrongs he created. In Yvonne’s case, the wrong was to an innocent man, Antoine, who Jean framed for a jewelry heist.
However, this is not a straightforward search for justice. Filmmaker Salvadori and his team do delve into that aspect of the story. Yvonne, once Jean’s subordinate on the force and wife, is stunned when she learns of her husband’s secret, sordid past. She confronts Jean’s partner, Louis (Damien Bonnard), who admits to the wrong Jean caused. And, Louis is in love with Yvonne.
Then, there is Agnes (Audrey Tautou), Antoine’s loyal and loving wife who waited patiently for a decade for his return home. That return is handled in a sweet and sentimental way that echoes again at the film’s end. But, the loving relationship is put in danger because Antoine is a changed man – not for the better. This leads Yvonne to immerse herself in Antoine’s life to try to make things right, becoming his guardian angel.
“The Trouble with You” follows several paths but brings them all together into a coherent whole that does a decent job in keeping things, even serious things, light. There is also a thread of very dark humor involving Louis and a meek-looking madman who just wants to turn himself in – leading to the question: What are in the multiplying bags the crazy guy carries with him? I give it a B.
You'd think Capitaine Jean Santi (Vincent Elbaz) was one of the most fearless and lethal cops on the planet as you watch him raid a criminal's den. But this is a bedtime story being told to his son Théo (Octave Bossuet) by his mother Lieutenant Yvonne Santi (Adèle Haenel, "The Forbidden Room," "BPM") months after his death. These bedtime stories will shift dramatically after Yvonne discovers that her husband was a 'bent cop' who framed twenty-six year-old Antoine Parent (Pio Marmaï) for the jewelry store theft that netted her own engagement ring. When Antoine is released after eight years in jail, Yvonne's efforts to help go hilariously awry in "The Trouble with You."
This is the type of commercial French filmmaking which rarely gets released in the U.S., a silly lark which is enjoyable while you're watching it but is immediately forgettable. There is nothing wrong with a bit of summertime fluff and director Pierre Salvadori's ("Après Vous") assembled a strong cast to up the ante.
Yvonne, who's been chafing at the desk job she's been confined to, attends the unveiling of a statue memorializing her late husband with coworker Louis (Damien Bonnard, "Dunkirk"), who's been secretly carrying a torch for her while hiding what he knew about Jean (the statue, an exaggerated gun drawn pose, is a great visual gag). When he gets a call to respond to an S&M brothel on the way home, Yvonne begs him to let her assist but Louis abides by the rules, handcuffing her to his steering wheel. Back at the office processing perps in bondage gear, Yvonne is asked if Jean is available and stories of his misdeeds coming tumbling out. That night Théo hears about his fumbling dad receiving
several beatings. The next day, Louis stops her from going to the court to clear Antoine, convincing her that it is best for Théo and that Antoine will be out in two weeks anyway.
So Yvonne begins to tail Antoine after his release, watching as he so surprises his wife Agnès ("Amélie's" Audrey Tautou) with his return, she makes him redo it - twice. But Antoine's time in prison has had a dire effect and the more she tries to help, the more Yvonne begins to get wrapped up in the criminal acts that are shocking Agnès while Louis, unaware, babysits Théo.
Writers Benjamin Charbit and Benoît Graffin have crafted an amusing romcom with Yvonne their lynchpin between parallel story arcs. Salvadori keeps several balls in the air, smoothly transitioning among story lines studded with visual and running gags. One involving a serial killer (Jean-Louis Barcelona) who is trying to confess to a distracted Louis, is particularly amusing, the man struggling more each time he arrives at the station burdened with increasing evidence of his crimes.
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