Streaming Releases: One Wild Moment (2018) - Reviewed

Mesrine director Jean-Francois Richet enlists his star Vincent Cassel for, what is, the second remake of Claude Berri’s “Un moment d’egarement” (In a wild moment, 1977). Though definitely better than Stanley Donen’s 1984 “Blame it on Rio”, this effort is, when all is said and done, still quite needless.

Faithfully following the original plot, two middle-aged friends, Antoine (Francois Cluzet) and Laurent (Cassel) take a vacation, to Corsica in this case, with their respective teenage daughters, Louna (Lola Le Lann) and Marie (Alice Isaaz).

What starts as a slow and simple R&R getaway, which takes its precious time to gather any steam, suddenly gets complicated when, during a night out as the girls’ chaperone, Laurent is seduced by Louna, after skinny dipping under the moonlight. Thus the titular wild moment.

What follows is a by the numbers dramedy, as Louna becomes smitten with Laurent while wishing that their impromptu tryst can actually lead to a relationship. Laurent, on the other hand, plunges into a stressful comedy of errors, as he tries everything in his reach to hide what has happened between them from Antoine, who is already looking for the dirty old man who slept with his daughter, to settle the score.  

At this point in the movie, the subject matter clashes head on with its tone. What worked as a comedy in 1977 (and to a much lesser extent in 1984) sure seems quite tasteless in the current #MeToo atmosphere, and a 44 year old man (even if it is Vincent Cassel) having sex with a 17 year old girl can squeeze all the fun out of a sitcom like set up.

Richet’s directing, despite the inherent thematic flaw and tone dissonance of the screenplay, is serviceable (and invisible) and does a great job in showcasing the beauty of Corsica as a travel destination. However, the film still seems to be walking on eggshells through most of its running time, it is as if Richet is undecided on it being a straight drama or a comedy and that doesn’t help it work as either.

Cluzet’s and Cassel’s efforts are definitely there, and their performances would certainly elicit a better reaction in another setting but there is an overall icky feeling to the scenario, which is difficult to get detached from in order to enjoy their otherwise comedic shenanigans. 

There undoubtedly is a reason why this 2015 production’s U.S. release has been delayed for three years, and that probably has to do with caution in its marketing strategy, which had to figure out a way to sell it to audiences as a comedy without causing any controversy. The strange fact is, that despite the feelings of unease the movie can produce, with its modern day Lolita, on this side of the Atlantic, in reality there is nothing unlawful actually happening in the narrative, at least in France, where the age of consent, as specified by article 227-25 is stated as 15.

Many middle-aged men will surely enjoy this fantasy, imagining themselves in the skin of Vincent Cassel, just please do not try this at home.

--Manuel Ríos Sarabia