Directed by Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, and Bruno Rom
First Run Features
Opens May 4, Cinema Village
If the sight gag is dead, this excruciatingly precious Belgian comedy is less a resurrection than an autopsy. Made by a troupe of actors with a background in pantomime and circus performance, it sounds delightful on paper: a largely wordless absurdist farce about a fast-food manager (Fiona Gordon) who sets sail for chilly adventure with a mute sea captain after she gets locked overnight in a freezerand her robotic family doesn't notice she's gone. The performers (especially Dominique Abel as the husband, who has a face like pulled taffy) have the right pipe-cleaner look for physical comedy; the gag setups, from a scarf caught in the freezer door to fun with goofy back-projection screens, would have Buster Keaton doing a saber dance on banana peels. But there's nothing eruptive or disruptive about the slapstick: Every color-drenched neat-freak shot is as fussily framed as a New Yorker cartoonTati by way of Wes Anderson and the result packs all the hilarity of a museum installation on The Semiotics of Silent Comedy.