THREE STARS A maid is ordered to make up numbers by impersonating a guest at a society dinner party in Paris.
Starring Toni Collette and Rossy De Palma
This uneven comedy certainly has its moments, particularly if you like sharp, aggressive and utterly un-PC humour. There's plenty of that as a brittle American-In-Paris society woman conspires with her maid to keep up appearances. It goes wrong, of course, when a guest whom the family need to keep on-side falls for the maid, believing her to be a woman of means. What could be a rip-snorting farce aims for Hugh Grant kookiness instead (he's referenced in the film) but with mixed success. When it becomes clear that storylines set up in the movie's much funnier first half are largely going nowhere, the film soon runs out of steam, leaving much of the narrative, themes, plot-lines and characters to wilt like an unloved salad in the French summer sun. It's a case of too many loose ideas creating an unsatisfying whole, in sharp contrast to the ending which, despite its abrupt arrival, is actually quite satisfying indeed. It only serves to underline how disappointing the enticing MADAME becomes.