Even the French must tire of the bedroom farce. Or at least that’s one way to explain Côte d’Azur, a bedroom farce without the bedroom: All manner of sexual confusion and mistaken identity take place, but this time…in the shower. The film follows Béatrix (Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi) and Marc (Gilbert Melki), the sexually charged parents of teenager Charly (Romain Torres), whose gay best friend, Martin (Edouard Collin), has joined the family for a seaside summer vacation. The freewheeling Béatrix, whose lover, Mathieu (Jacques Bonnaffé), is perpetually crouching in the Mediterranean bushes, happily (but mistakenly) senses romance between Charly and Martin. This is unhappy news for Marc, whose growing interest in his son’s best friend could be classified as more than parental even among Gauls. How does the shower fit into all of this? It’s where Martin fantasizes about Charly, where Marc fantasizes about Martin, and where Béatrix brings her lover when everyone else is out cruising. If the setup seems just a bit confusing, then you’re probably not half-Dutch—for being half-Dutch is Béatrix’s only explanation for why her family’s sexual shenanigans roll off of her like so much water. Indeed, writer-directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau have fashioned an idealized picture of family tolerance stretched to its human limits. There is no sexual indulgence too great for a modern, open-minded couple to absorb, it seems, whether it’s a wife’s adultery within earshot of her husband, a husband’s stealing away with the plumber, or that same plumber’s seducing their son. The filmmakers clearly intended to create a comic utopia where all loves are realized—or at least understood. But against a relentlessly upbeat backdrop that includes musical numbers about shellfish are real-life family struggles—a son’s disaffection, a husband’s sexual repression—that the script barely touches. Though Bruni-Tedeschi lends a warm and seductive screen presence, her charisma alone can’t sustain Côte d’Azur’s message that a summer of lust brings only self-discovery and happiness. That’s a farce that no nationality can pull off. —Mario Correa

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