Now showing in Hong Kong

Film review: Up for Love - Jean Dujardin is 1.4 metres tall in charming rom-com

In the wrong hands, this film could have ended up as crass mockery, but in fact it is a life-affirming comedy romance, and proof that a little Dujardin goes a long way

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 October, 2016, 1:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 October, 2016, 1:27pm

4/5 stars

The premise of Jean Dujardin’s latest comedy sounds woefully misjudged. In a remake of the 2013 Argentinean film Corazón de León, the French Oscar winner (for 2011’s The Artist) plays Alexandre, a handsome, charismatic architect who begins a courtship with Diane (Virginie Efira), a successful lawyer, after returning her lost cellphone. The gag here is that Alexandre is short – about 1.4 metres – albeit perfectly formed in every way.

While this should set politically correct alarm bells ringing, Up For Love manages to be consistently charming, genuinely romantic and often very funny. Plenty of the humour obviously stems from Alexandre’s diminutive stature – his scenes with a large dog are simple, yet brilliantly executed. It never feels exploitative or offensive.

Not surprisingly, Diane is taken aback by Alexandre’s height, especially after their initial flirtatious phone conversation. The bulk of the film sees her wrestle with her undeniable feelings for the new man in her life, and the reactions of everyone else, which range from ridicule to disgust. It doesn’t help that Diane shares her law firm with ex-husband Bruno (Cédric Kahn), an unapologetic womaniser and alpha male. Even Diane’s mother openly refuses to take the relationship seriously.

What could, in the wrong hands, have emerged as a crass, insensitive Farrelly Brothers-esque mockery of disparate body types is instead a wholly enjoyable, life-affirming romantic comedy anchored by a pair of strong, nuanced and sympathetic characters. Despite all the odds, Up For Love proves, in the best possible sense, that a little Dujardin goes a very long way.

Up for Love opens on October 20

Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook