In terms of strict chronology, the first scene of this film takes place after the rest of the story has already occurred. It's eighteenth century France and a man walks into a room in which there sits a really old guy. The man starts talking about some wrong the elder's done him, then whips it out and starts urinating on the old guy.
It's one thing to show a stream of urine flowing onto some old guy, but this film goes the extra mile and actually shows you the penis. There it is, big as day, a penis on screen. Frankly, if you're going to show the penis on screen you really ought to have an iron-clad reason. "Ridicule" does not have that reason and thus the scene reveals the movie's overall stupidity. I think we're all smart enough to make that great leap of faith on behalf of director Patrice ("The Hairdresser's Husband") Leconte. Show me a guy standing over another guy. Show me his hand low, around his waist area. Show me a stream of urine pouring on to the other guy. I can take it from there. I'll assume in my mind that there's a penis involved. I don't actually have to see the thing. It's kind of intuitive. I know it's there.
From that moment on, it's kind of hard to trust the filmmakers as they delve into the world of 1783 France, six years before the French Revolution, where the court of King Louis XVI was ruled by wit, and a person's value was measured by how brilliantly he could ridicule his peers.
Ponceludon de Malavoy (Charles Berling) goes to the King's court in hopes of getting funding for a civil engineering project but instead gets involved with these games of wit. He starts screwing the manipulative Madame de Blayac (Fanny Ardant) while falling in love with Mathilde (Judith Godreche), who is outside the court. As all this transpires, the only reason you might come to appreciate this film is because there are no more urination scenes, which, ironically, turns out to be a serious relief.
To spread the word about this Ridicule review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.