Picks and Pans Review: La Boum

updated 07/04/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/04/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Before he even set pen to paper to write the script for this French comedy, director Claude Pinoteau reportedly took an informal poll among Parisian high school and college students asking what they'd like to see in a film about growing up. The result, although a hit in France, is the movie equivalent of a paint-by-the-numbers production. It is a wan, disjointed attempt at portraying the trials and tribulations of being a 13-year-old girl. The focal point is her first weekend party, or, in the French idiom, "la bourn." Newcomer Sophie Marceau, in the title role, is growing up in a normal middle-class household: Her mother, played by the beautiful Brigitte (Enigma) Fossey, is an aspiring cartoonist, and her father, Claude Brasseur, is a dentist haunted by an old mistress. After Sophie goes off to the party and meets the fuzzy-cheeked boy of her dreams, the movie abruptly shifts focus to the budding domestic crisis between her parents. The father, a weakling, has one last fling with his old girlfriend. Then he confesses all to his wife, who takes up with her daughter's German teacher. The scenes are so predictable they are not even mildly funny: the teenagers' obligatory first kiss at the movies, the parents fighting in a café, Sophie and her teen heartthrob running toward each other in the school yard in slow motion. Ugh. The actors are not to be faulted. Marceau is charming, and so is Denise Grey, who plays the girl's eccentric, bohemian great-grandmother and confidante in matters of life and love. Pinotean, best known for Escape to Nowhere, has already promised to come up with La Bourn—but American audiences are much more likely to drop La Bourn on him. (In French with English subtitles) (PG)

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