Movie Review: 'Little White Lies' -- 2.5 stars
Little White Lies
Directed by Guillaume Canet
Starring Marion Cotillard, Francois Cluzet, Jean Dujardin
It seems like each new month brings another movie about friends gathering in the same house for a reunion, or a vacation, where past hurts and other forms of dysfunction take hold.
"Little White Lies" offers a French take on the formula, prominently features Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and "The Artist's" Jean Dujardin and comes from the terrific writer-director Guillaume Canet ("Tell No One"), so one might have reasonably hoped for something a bit different than the norm.
At times, this story of friends spending a two-week vacation together in the south of France does seem to be charting its own course. There are subplots, such as one centered on married Vincent's (Benoit Magimel) lust for his buddy Max (Francois Cluzet), that you simply wouldn't find in Hollywood. The specter of tragedy hangs over the proceedings, as the film opens with one member of the tight-knit group, the gregarious Ludo (Dujardin), hospitalized with a terrible injury.
But fundamentally, this is familiar, lightweight stuff, down to a soundtrack that's overloaded with English-language hits like "The Weight" and The McCoys' "Hang on Sloopy."
The movie is only sporadically compelling, as it mostly consists of the characters sitting around Max's vacation home and talking about their collective past. That could work at 90 minutes, but "Little White Lies" lasts an astonishing 154, pushing on so far past its expiration date that you'll squirm uncomfortably for the final act.