Isabelle (Diane Kruger) is
madly in love with her with her dentist partner, Pierre (Robert Plagnol) and keen to marry him.
Yet there is one big problem: the women in Isabelle’s family suffer from a
curse where, without fail, their first marriages always end dismally while the
second one is golden. Isabelle becomes convinced she needs to marry and divorce
someone else before she can wed Pierre. Yet after she succeeds in marrying
Jean-Yves (Dany Boon), Isabelle soon realises he’s not the clueless chump she
thought he was and finds herself torn between two men. 

Hate actually.

In what appears to be a Gallic assault on the box-office universe of Love Actually-like rom-com inanity, director Pascal Chaumeil concocts a risible confection in Fly Me to the Moon (Un plan parfait). Those who believe that French cinema invented all that is fun and delicious about movie romances may want to file this insipid, high-concept embarrassment in the exception-that-proves-the-rule basket.

very much a committee project

From the preposterous premise to the badly miscast Diane Kruger to the painfully awful 'declaration of love’ final scene, Chaumeil grinds his sitcom set-up into the dirt with desperate, dire whimsy. Tellingly, the film boasts four credited writers: relative newcomers Yoann Gromb, Beatrice Fourneau and Phillippe Mechelen, alongside Laurent Zeitoun (writer of I Do, producer of The Intouchables). Fly Me to the Moon is very much a committee project, filled with narrative beats and plot twists geared to the most profit-driven and bland commercial interests. While Chaumeil’s last film, Heartbreaker, was smart, sassy, sweet entertainment, his latest plays like a shallow 100-minute commercial.

The project’s smug over-confidence is exhibited from the opening scene, in which it demands audiences accept that in modern Paris, a family of upper-middle class intellectuals still believe that a curse hangs over the females of their clan. For no established reason, it seems every first marriage is doomed to fail; a dinner party of relatives tell the story of Isabelle (Diane Kruger, struggling with 'likable sweetness’ after a career of 'tormented iciness’), who is so fearful of losing her true-love Pierre (Robert Plagnol) to her pre-ordained destiny, she devises an elaborate plan to sucker some poor schmuck into marrying her then annulling the nuptials immediately, to get the curse out of the way.

In entirely predictable fashion, Isabelle’s plan goes awry and she is thrown into an African adventure with nice-guy travel writer Jean-Yves (superstar Dany Boon, surely playing out the most under-developed lead of his career). She woos him just enough for her plan to play out, but then flees his company once back in France. Her sense of regret and, perhaps more importantly, his sense of betrayal is given such short shrift that"¦well, if the couple involved don’t care what they’ve been through, why should the audience?

There’s always an argument to be made that the people who enjoy these unrealistic romantic comedy concepts (While You Were Sleeping, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) aren’t looking for more grounded love stories (Annie Hall, The Goodbye Girl, Modern Romance, When Harry Met Sally"¦). If so, grab your choc-tops and enjoy. I’d argue that you are buying into the laziest, most contrived genre polluting both multiplexes and art-house venues at present. But to each of their own, I guess.