Les Coquillettes Bristles With Comic Misadventures But Lacks Substance


A feisty trifle charting the misadventures of three French women looking for romance or distraction among the open-for-suggestions film-industry fellows at the Locarno Film Festival, Sophie Letourneur’s brief comedy is distinguished by bristling comic performances, from both the women and their quarry, especially in a too-long public makeout embarrassment between Camille Genaud and one guy that her character—named Camille, just as Letourneur’s is Sophie and Carole Le Page’s is Carole—doesn’t want to seem too into. “I’m sorry I frenched you,” she says later, according to the subtitles, which is something of a revelation: The French use the verb “to french”? Their comic but usually not hilarious travails are flashed back to from a stagey present, where the women reminisce about their trip and set up the scenes to come with stiff dialogue right out of an old sitcom clip show. Letourneur captures film fests’ buzz of self-congratulatory promiscuity but never makes the many parties and mishaps compelling; her character’s quest—to re-meet and romance actor Louis Garrel—reveals little about celebrity, the industry, or real people’s fantasies.