Published Apr 03, 2013Big Is Beautiful is the kind of movie where it's possible to connect all of the dots within fifteen minutes and determine exactly where the plot is headed and what sort of tone will be struck throughout. Content to amiably shamble along towards wrapping up all of its loose ends in a tidy little package, the only potential saving grace would be if it happened to be uproariously funny.
Sadly, the laughs here are scant and shallow; the kind of self-effacing fat jokes that are best left shared between friends.
Nina (Lola Dewaere) works the financial side of her husband Gaspard's (Grégory Fitoussi) promising swimsuit business. After a few embarrassing torn skirts, and on the advice of both her mother and her best friend, Natacha (Pauline Lefevre), she decides to attend a weight-loss spa retreat in an effort to slim down. There, she meets two new friends and regulars of the "cure," as they call it-- the portly Emilie (Catherine Hosmalin) and the frisky Sophie (Victoria Abril).
In a largely unrelated storyline that almost registers as a separate-- and not altogether absorbing-- movie unto itself, the overweight pre-teen Thomas (Martin Daquin) wrestles with the authority of his sister and monitor, Roxanne (Julia Piaton).
As he slowly comes around to the charms of Emilie, despite first rubbing each other the wrong way, he begins to open up and come to grips with some of the secrets of his past.
In Gaspard, the Undeserving Jerk Boyfriend, the movie takes the most common of romantic comedy tropes to unprecedented heights. It is evident, almost from the first time we lay eyes on the cad, that he is nothing but philandering bad news. The fact that it takes a great amount of time and another familiar convention-- the overheard telephone conversation-- for Nina finally to come to her senses says a lot about the lack of suspense in their relationship.
The only character that ends up leaving much of an impression is the irrepressible Emilie. As Nina is busy putting together plot pieces the audience assembled from the outset, and as Sophie is learning to finally accept monogamy with the gigolo of her dreams, the closest the movie ever gets to understanding the emotional plight of the obese is in a scene where Emilie is forced to listen to the pleasured moans of a neighbour as she consoles herself with a big piece of cake. (UGC)