Film

Barbecue Is a Dreary Midlife-Crisis Dramedy

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Barbecue only very briefly features a cookout, yet it makes up for that absence by serving up a feast of fatuous gibberish about enjoying the time you have with friends and loved ones.

Antoine (Lambert Wilson) is a good-looking, physically fit family man who, shortly before his 50th birthday, suffers an unexpected heart attack. That cataclysmic event compels him to reassess his life, which means that the smug Antoine — who also loves cheating on his wife — decides to eat buttery foods, smoke joints, and act like a condescending prick to that wife and the group of friends who join him on vacation at a gorgeous country estate.

Eric Lavaine’s midlife-crisis dramedy piles on dreary subplots involving Antoine’s grating pals and their one-dimensional romantic and/or financial problems, but his material is unfunny and superficial to the point of inertia. Worse, it’s disingenuous, feigning serious consideration of adultery, jealousy, selfishness, and camaraderie before revealing its true colors during a finale in which everything works out for everyone in the most ideal — and thus contrived — fashion possible.

If nothing else, however, an early gag involving Antoine tricking his pals into helping him relieve himself shows that gay-panic jokes are lame in any language.

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