UP FOR LOVE (Laurent Tirard). Subtitled. 98 minutes. Opens Friday (September 2). See showtimes. Rating: N
In Up For Love, cool blond Diane (Virginie Efira) starts falling for a man of small stature and struggles with how people see their relationship. She has thoughtful conversations about her own insecurities, how images from pop culture never prepared her to love a man who happens to be 4-foot-5 and how difficult it is to overcome her own prejudices.
That’s intriguing, but it feels completely disingenuous in a Hollywood-style rom-com from France where the little person in question isn’t played by Europe’s answer to Peter Dinklage but instead by nearly 6-foot Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin. He gets the digital Peter Jackson treatment so audiences can chuckle every time Efira leans in for a smooch.
As Alexandre, Dujardin amps up his charms to the max, playing a super-rich, funny, infinitely wise and selfless man who apparently isn’t allowed to have any other flaws because his height is plenty. The character would be akin to Sidney Poitier’s John Prentice in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner if the actor had actually been white but donned blackface.
And to that end, Dujardin does a lot of shucking and jiving in a movie that takes every shot at a crude, slapstick gag involving height. It’s appalling.