By Troy Ribeiro
Film: ‘Friendzone’ (Streaming on Netflix); Duration: 88 minutes; Director: Charles Van Tieghem; Cast: Mickael Lumiere, Manon Azem, Fadily Camara, Eva Danino, Constance Amoult, Eloise Valli, Bruno Sanches and Maxime Gasteuil. IANS Rating: **1/2
When hearts flutter and lips don’t mutter “I love you” at the right time, the relationship slips into a vague zone called ‘Friendzone’. It is a situation in which two people are friends, but one of them them has an unreciprocated romantic or sexual interest in the other.
Director Charles Van Tieghem’s ‘Friendzone’ contains all the tropes of a romantic comedy — meet-cutes, montages, banter, a weird preponderance of sex scenes that always indicate a dark turn at the end of the second act, and at last, the realisation.
The narrative begins on a clumsy note with Thibault Galland (Mickael Lumiere) aka Titi, a male nurse working in the paediatrics department, is at a resort attending a bachelorette party. During a late evening swim, he plunges into the water stark naked, and by happenstance, he bumps into Rose, a designer for children’s wear, who is at the resort for some trade show.
Over a conversation, we learn that she is nursing a broken heart and Titi too is a single guy. They meet often but sparks of romance don’t fly.
Titi’s friends Alexandre, Maud, and Lulu learn their friend has some insecurities when it comes to romantic relationships. They tell him, “Girls these days, we make our own money, we drive, we vote. We don’t want to waste time. We want guys who are sensual, like Pharrell Williams or Justin Timberlake.” So, they take it upon themselves to groom and coach Titi to become the man a girl would chase.
Titi lies to Rose, saying that he has to travel to Siberia for a month and endures the training for a make-over. When he returns, to his disappointment, he learns that Rose is back with her ex, and so, to make her jealous, he hooks up with Jennifer, the hottest babe in town. And things do not work the way he had envisaged, but he still cares for Rose and feels that Rose’s boyfriend is not perfect for her. How the hopeful romantic Titi convinces Rose that he is not a best friend but boyfriend material, forms the crux of the narrative.
Mickael Lumiere does a brilliant job of portraying Titi, a sensitive young man who is emotionally low-keyed. He shares lovely on-screen chemistry with Rose, but their performances are far from compelling. Also, the supporting casts are stereotypes and mundane.
While there is a fair amount of wit and humour in the script, the narrative, is loose and the dubbing is careless that you don’t feel for the characters.
Overall, ‘Friendzone’ is a frothy, feel-good, romance that does not need much thinking.
(Troy Ribeiro can be contacted at email@example.com)