ANTOINE DE CAUNES
ANTOINE DE CAUNES
Romantic comedies that star actors over the age of 50 are a rarity. Antoine de Caune’s Twice Upon a Time attempts to buck the trend, yet is thwarted by his own bad script, and his equally awful direction.
The film stars Charlotte Rampling and Jean Rochefort as Alice d’Abanville and Louis Ruinard, the darlings of 1970’s French cinema who re-unite after 30 years apart. Still in love with his muse and reeling from the harsh reality of his mortality, Louis tries to win Alice back, who is still bitter over Louis’ past adulteress tendencies.
A French/English hybrid, Twice Upon a Time is a movie with unlimited potential, that begins promisingly only to constantly stumble at every turn. Its comedic elements are immature at best, relying on gay jokes and a flatulent, Viagra chomping bulldog to bring on the laughs.
The back and forth between Rochefort and the still strikingly gorgeous Rampling sorely lacks bite; however the love scene between the two works. That is, if its intention was to test the audiences gag reflex.
Meanwhile, key scenes set up as potential comedic fodder -such as a ceremony where Louis is to be presented an award in cinematic achievement by Alice- fall flat. In fact, the only remotely funny moment occurs over an awkward dinner scene hosted by a clueless stock trader who confuses Rampling’s Alice d’Abanville, for Catherine Deneuve, who he is convinced was the star of Mary Poppins.
For all its many errors, Charlotte Rampling still manages to pull off a good performance, elevating above the material, and leaving her co-star, the bumbling Rochefort, in the dust. As previously mentioned, she is still a knockout at 61 years of age, and her limitless emotional range makes for compelling viewing as she portrays feelings of love, confusion, and especially rage extremely well.
Yet for all of Rampling’s gusto, Twice Upon a Time is nothing more than a poor romantic comedy which could have been something special, yet does not have the laughs to see it through.