Once-in-a-blue-moon I will review a narrative film. Written and directed by Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte, What’s in a Name is a 2012 French comedy. I make this rare exception because this is one of the funniest films I’ve had to pleasure to view – two times, so far – in many years.
American comedic films have devolved into the hyperbolic, the rude, and the crude. This film’s humor rests in the witty, the absurd, and the poignant. On the surface the story features five characters at a dinner party discussing people’s names. Beneath that verbal facade the five are coming to deeper terms with who they are to each other.
What’s in a Name is a magnificent comedic accomplishment. The script, the production quality, and the performances are all masterful. The film is a perfect amalgam of a 1940’s breezy American romantic comedy, a great Seinfeld episode, and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff”.
The characters speak quickly, and, therefore, the subtitles flash quickly. Us non-French language viewers need to stay alert. Many may do what I do, replay short segments. You do not want to miss a word. Now, I must see the other films by Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte.