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I'm boycotting this film. I've seen the trailer, a few scenes and on the surface, the movie looks nothing but a delightful little romantic comedy starring two French matinee idols Virginie Elfira and Jean Dujardin. But for the first time, after 1238 reviews and without taking any pride from it, I review a movie I didn't see because I despise its take on the very points it pretends to make. In other words: I'm boycotting it.
Here's a quote from Verne Troyer who played Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" movie: "I think when average-size people start taking roles that were meant for dwarfs, that's a little frustrating because there aren't that many roles out there for height-challenged actors."
The last part of the quote is the key, there aren't many roles out there for height-challenged actors. Many years ago, you couldn't have little actors playing big roles unless your name was Danny De Vito or Bob Hoskins and they were hardly leading roles in the romantic definition of the word, same story in France, little guys could only play sidekicks or funny comic reliefs as the obligatory whipping boys of the bigger guys.
But Laurent Tirard can't get away with that excuse: in 2016, one of the greatest TV stars was Peter Dinklage and he proved that you could play a badass dude even below the 5ft limit. Tirard wanted to make a statement about love being blind and even a beautiful tall blonde girl like Virginie Elfira could fall in love with a man of 4ft and half. I can only cheer to that, finally a movie tackling the issue of height.
Yes, height is a serious issue for men. Standing at 5ft7, I have endured some rejections because of my height and I could eavesdrop many girls' conversations always converging toward the same depiction of the ideal guy: tall and handsome (notice how tall always comes before handsome). I have always wished height would be handled as a serious issue in a movie, and here came the perfect film for that, and the intentions of the script are certainly laudable, but then... I saw the trailer and realized they took the most bankable actor to play the little man.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Cinema is a tough racket, many are called and a few are chosen. In the case of little men, a few are even called. Seriously, how many young men under 5ft would dream about any ungrateful role in a big production if that meant a ticket to glory, and here comes a movie where it IS the leading role. Finally, height has a point: a little man is given the opportunity to shine and deliver a heart-warming message about love and tolerance. Surely, there must have been a handsome young man with a deficit in centimeters, how about having the guts to give one of these guys a chance... for the first time?
But not only Tirard went for the easy choice; picking the "it" actor in France but he also insulted the matter of height by turning it into a publicity stunt à la "Honey, I Shrunk Dujardin", it's not about going to see the love story between a small man and a tall girl, but to have fun watching Dujardin being "downsized". Tirard turned the serious matter of height into a goddamn movie gimmick, which adds the insult to injury. Indeed, Tirard would rather complicate the whole filmmaking process by having to shoot with a green screen rather than casting a short man and letting it roll smoothly and naturally.
I guess the box office success is worth the risk of awkward and obviously staged interactions and of course, some will say that the casting made sense in terms of financial issues, that spectators are most likely to come to watch a Dujardin movie rather than an unknown man. Well, if Tirard couldn't care less about preventing a small man from a role tailor-made for him, he could have casted many other famous short guys in French showbiz and there are some, with notable talent. But the real problem is that the film is supposed to deliver a message which is that size doesn't matter.
Except that Tirard, by shrinking a tall guy instead of genuinely casting a small one, proved that size indeed mattered. It might be motivated by economical and aesthetical factors, but you wouldn't believe how many times heightism is also due to these very causes, so Tirard doesn't taste the very soup he's selling to us, and I don't want any of it.
The film is a gutless production that doesn't believe in its own premise, and twice an insult to short people because it pretends to care about them.
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