Directed by: Fred Cavender Starring: Melissa Rindell, Mark Denieffe, Dan Rock, Roxanne Brumachon, Didier Delahais Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
Welcome to Somewhere In France, the stoner, road-trip, Western, heist-movie from director Fred Cavender that plays fast and loose with its plot, its characters, and it's tone to create an uneasy yet passable comedy.
Somewhere in France a drug deal is going down and that's where we enter the story and are introduced to a menage á incompetent in the form of three would-be drug dealers. Their plan to buy some narcotics goes awry when the dealer turns out to be with the fuzz, leading to an improbable stand-off which ends with the trio fleeing across the countryside with one of the police officers (Roxanne Brumachon) handcuffed to them.
Think Seth Rogen getting dropped onto the set of a French reboot of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with Harold and Kumar as directors and a script penned by a nine-year-old child.
It's not that the short film is terrible, it's that it's a terrible mess. There are too many plates spinning that not only do they all smash, they never really get spinning. Cavender sets up one thread and then immediately drops it for another before ditching that in favour of something else equally as banal. None of it feels believable, even in the baggy realm of stoner comedy, with each character feeling like a sketch from a different movie.
The performances are quite poor but I will bring attention to Mark Denieffe who plays a smart-talking Irishman who is decent and provides the short’s most redeemable scenes, as well as Melissa Rindell who is at the very least fiery when dealing with the terrible lines.
From a filmmaking and technical level, Somewhere In France has a nice pedigree. Cavender has proven himself to be a formidable craftsman when it comes to the aesthetics of his short films, and here it is the same. I particularly enjoyed a hazy, fog-filled montage where the villains attempt to subdue the undercover officer with second hand smoke. This sequence felt the most consistent with the stoner comedy approach.
Take away the lazy dialogue and silly plot and characters and you aren't left with much, but if you could apply Cavender's filmmaking panache to something more intelligent, then I would happily sojourn for an escapade. As it is, however, this is one place in France you can avoid.
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