Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Family for Rent Home on Loan
Year: 2015
Director: Jean-Pierre Améris
Stars: Benoît Poelvoorde, Virginie Efira, François Morel, Philippe Rebbot, Pauline Serieys, Calixte Broisin-Doutaz, Edith Scob, Nancy Tate, Nathalie Gessier, Taïra, Rémy Roubakha, Xavier Mathieu
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: After punching a shopping mall security guard unconscious, feisty working class single mum Violette Mandini (Virginie Efira) faces hefty fines and the likelihood the state will take her kids away. Out of the blue she is approached by wealthy recluse Paul-André Delalande (Benoît Poelvoorde) with a most unusual proposal. He offers to settle all of Violette's debts and use his influence to ensure her children will remain at home. In return Paul-André wants to move in with them for a period of one month. He makes it clear there is nothing untoward going on. He is not interested in any hanky-panky and wants Violette to do as she pleases. It is just having never had a family of his own, Paul-André is curious to learn what it is like to be a husband and father. So Violette takes the rich eccentric into her modest home introducing him as her 'boyfriend' to brainy, volatile teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Serieys) and hyperactive, football-mad diabetic Auguste (Calixte Broisin-Doutaz). Inevitably Paul-André soon learns family life is no bed of roses.

Benoît Poelvoorde has certainly come a long way since his breakout turn as star and co-director of controversial serial killer satire Man Bites Dog (1992). Now firmly established as one of France's top comedy stars, Poelvoorde here follows his last crowd-pleasing collaboration with comic auteur Jean-Pierre Améris, Romantics Anonymous (2010), with Une famille à louer, an easygoing if bland paean to family life. Inspired by Améris' own readjustment from bachelorhood to life with partner and co-screenwriter Murielle Magellan (who also had a child from a previous relationship), the film is not that conceptually different from one of those Eighties comedies where a rich person goes to live with an ordinary slob and discovers, hey!, poor folks have something money can't buy. Think: Overboard (1987).

Predictably Paul-André gets in over his head and soon struggles to apply his innate fastidious tendencies to bring calm and order to Violette's chaotic household. Equally as predictably he also discovers money cannot satisfy emotional needs in the same way as the simple joys of family togetherness. Not to mention that the perpetually provocatively-attired Violette is frankly hot. Their relationship thaws in a way that is charming and sweet, subtly exposing the cracks in their psychological makeup. Paul-André is emotionally inert on account of a strained relationship with his distant, consistently disapproving mother (Edith Scob, of Eyes Without a Face (1959) fame!), while Violette's relatives make her feel insecure about her dyslexia so they can continue to exploit her. In the course of these two damaged, insecure individuals healing each other, Améris does manages to say something interesting about the complexity of family life in the twentieth century as a source of both stability and strife. He also makes a case for frequent arguments being far from a sign of a broken family but rather evidence they do care and a cathartic exercise that allows them to grow.

Even so, while Family for Rent mines a far subtler vein of wit without recourse to crudity than one finds in a Hollywood feel-good comedy, it is just as frothy and inconsequential. Améris exhausts the comic potential of his premise pretty early on. Thereafter what laughs there are rarely rise above the mildest chuckles. It is held together by a marvelous turn by Poelvoorde. His performance as the jittery, repressed control freak Paul-André is a precision comic instrument perfectly complemented by the brassier but humane turn from the engaging Virginie Efira. Furthermore Améris' meticulous direction proves comedies do not have look so bland.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2564 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: