A bloated spin on The Big Chill, Little White Lies follows a septet of grating, mostly Gen X Parisians as they half-guiltily decide to proceed with their summer-holiday plans in Cap Ferret after one of their clique (The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin) lies in intensive care after a motorcycle accident. How these friends met is never made clear; the women in the group, save for the ethnologist played by Marion Cotillard (the real-life romantic partner of writer-director Guillaume Canet, best known for 2006’s overrated Tell No One), appear to have no roles other than scolds, weepers, and/or sexually unsatisfied helpmeets. The din of this crew’s constant caviling and passive-aggressive insulting is further intensified by the puzzling, nonstop boomer soundtrack (I guess rights to songs by CCR and the Isley Brothers are cheaper than those by Oasis and the Fugees). By the fifth scene of everyone climbing onto the yacht owned by high-strung hotelier Max (François Cluzet), you might as well be watching someone else’s unedited, logorrheic vacation footage—which you will soon be doing when the gang gathers round the TV to coo and laugh at a compilation of their past beach sojourns. Of sole interest is Benoît Magimel’s Vincent, who sheepishly confesses a same-sex attraction to one in the cabal; his moments on-screen provide the only break from this slog.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 22, 2012