Monday, August 11, 2014
On Netflix: Feel Good Cheating with 'The Players'
Les Infidèles (The Players) (France, 2012, directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, Fred Cavayé, Alexandre Courtès, Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanavicius, Jan Kounen, Eric Lartigau and Gilles Lellouche. in French with English subtitles, color, 109 minutes)
Never has a film taken such a prominent look at the cheating ways of men as "Les Infidèles (The Players)" has. This collection of short films explores so many different kinds of men (all being played by Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche) that you feel bad for them even though you know you shouldn't.
The film opens and closes with the story of Fred (Dujardin) and Greg (Lellouche), two buddies who love staying out late, sleeping around and pretending they're still in the prime of their lives while their wives stay at home. Mounting pressure from their wives find the two going to Las Vegas for one final screwfest before fully committing.
In between we see a story of a painfully awkward salesman, Olivier (Dujardin), trying to sleep with one of his co-workers, a suave dentist named Bernard (Lellouche) who suffers being with his 20-something girlfriend and her friends, an openly swinging couple and their affects on a monogamous couple, and a group sex therapy session. Also full of awkwardly funny charm are three shorts that are no longer than 2 minutes each that take slapstick and cheating to a whole new level.
"Les Infidèles" is highlighted by the unforgivably blunt and effortless look at various circumstances of cheating men, not only telling us point blank why they do it, but some of the bad that comes with it. It delves beyond "I cheated because I felt like it" because none of the sketches are like that, just the opening and closing. We see real men, not comedic caricatures or the results of a one night stand with a crazy woman, but real people, their troubles and their confusions. This is a true film that explains nothing, but says everything about the male psyche.
Everything in this movie feels right, which is an amazing feat considering there were eight directors and five writers. Every vignette feels spot-on, making us feel the awkward when necessary, sorrow when needed, and laughs at all the right times.
Dujardin and Lellouche are brilliant in this film, portraying each of their five characters so hilariously and/or poignantly. These two play off of each other so well you would have they their characters were sleeping with each other - or are they? "Les Infidèles" takes its time telling their stories, but it is absolutely worth it.