A Comedy of Manners for the Privileged Class, Change of Plans


Sarah (Emmanuelle Seigner), one of a highly privileged group of 10 at an annual dinner party held on the first day of summer, wishes to be free of “the dictatorship of appearances.” Her creators, however—director Danièle Thompson (2006’s Avenue Montaigne), co-writing with son and frequent collaborator Christopher (who also plays Seigner’s obnoxious lawyer husband)—remain shackled to the tyranny of the tiresomely blithe and skin-deep. Skitting from one haute bourgeois Parisian to the next—nine-tenths of whom are either cheating or being cheated on—Change of Plans is a comedy of manners in need of Ritalin. As the film toggles back and forth from one year hence, smooth scene transitions and endings become even more insurmountable for Thompson. Shoehorned injections of gravitas and weak topicality among the partner swapping—cancer, a car accident, Sarah’s book-signing for her just-published The Saga of Raggedy Cape about “an autistic child with magical powers”—merely highlight the tonal messiness. Thompson’s only real acknowledgment of polarizing controversy in the world is her including, in the end credits, a recipe for bigos—the dinner party’s main course—from Seigner’s real-life spouse: Roman Polanski.