Not My Type

Not My Type ★★★½

One can count on Belgian director Lucas Belvaux to deliver a film of uncommon sensibility no matter what the genre. Here he is doing the bitter-sweet romantic dramady genre about as well as it can be done. It's the story of Clément, a Parisian philosophy teacher and author who has commitment issues. He has been exiled for a year working as a teacher in a small provincial town; and there he meets a vivacious blonde woman named Jennifer, a single mother who cuts hair and is every bit the hick that he abhors. But there's this undeniable mutual attraction...

It's no accident that her name is Jennifer (pronounced with an English "J". ) Her hero is plucky Jennifer Anniston (and of course the professor has never heard of that actress.) Along with her best buds from work, Jennifer does disco karaoke...and she's really good, in an enthusiastic amateur fashion. As portrayed by lovely Émilie Dequenne, she's a fireball of enthusiasm, a ray of light.

Handsome, 30-ish actor Löic Corbery plays stalwart Clément...and he's quite good here. I don't think I've ever seen him in a film before; but I expect this to lead to other film roles. The film is notable for its resolute anti-Hollywood take on the rom-com genre. However, maybe there's a good reason for the traditional Hollywood ending, since I was prepared to rank this film much higher until the closing scenes. Also, despite holding my interest throughout, the film could use a little judicious pruning. At two hours, it seems a little padded. Still, the superb central performances and the smart script make this a film to watch for.

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