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Up For Love Review

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Lawyer Diane (Virginie Efira) is in the midst of separating from her husband (and professional partner), when she meets the charming Alexandre (Jean Dujardin). Could this be the love of her life? Only if she, and the other people in her life, can get over the fact that Alexandre is only four-foot-five tall.

★★★★★

As a woman takes a creepy-flirty phonecall from a stranger who’s found her lost mobile, Up For Love kicks off like a domestic thriller. But, once the maybe-stalker is revealed as twinkly charmer Jean Dujardin, it instead charts the safe, tepid waters of romantic comedy. With a single twist. Dujardin’s character is revealed to be four-foot-five. Which makes courting lawyer Diane (Efira) somehow more challenging...

Up For Love is doggedly determined to make Alexandre’s small stature a big issue.

This is, though, despite the fact that writers Laurent Tirard (who also directs) and Grégoire Vigneron, adapting 2012 Argentian movie Corazón de León, make Alexandre glowingly, implausibly perfect in every other way. He’s handsome, compassionate, engaging, creative and — most importantly — rich. So, really, it shouldn’t be much of a challenge for Diane at all. But Up For Love is doggedly determined to make Alexandre’s small stature a big issue, whether it’s to make a trite point about the value of dignity or, rather more squirmingly, to ellicit laughs. One running joke, for example, involves Alexandre having to contend with his son’s lumbering St. Bernard everytime he walks through the front door. The intention, no doubt, is to tinge the supposed laughs with pathos, but while Dujardin pratfalls well and has a deep well of charisma to draw upon, the jokes fall flat.

It doesn’t sit well that a six-foot-tall actor has been cast in this role, either. Aside from the unconvincing visual-effects and above-waist framing, it makes Alexandre’s plight ring utterly false, and renders Diane far harder to like. The script even bends over backwards to point out that Alexandre isn’t a “proper” midget, or dwarf. As if his pituitary gland problem somehow makes his relationship with Diane easier to swallow. All rather offensive, we suspect, to genuine little people. If Up For Love weren’t so numblingly predictable in every other sense, we’d say we eagerly awaited the US remake with Peter Dinklage…

An otherwise mundane rom-com that doesn’t know how to handle its one point-of-difference; and even that isn’t as much of a big deal as its writers think it is.