COUP DE TETE -- At the Janus 2.
Nobody does farce like the French, not even the English when they have Peter Sellers playing a farcical Frenchman.
Perhaps it's because the French think so much, or think about thinking so much. Filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud, for instance, sat down a while back and started thinking about soccer, the national mania, and its effects on La Belle France. And vice-versa. He thought about it longtemps, probably, and then got up and made a dreary, plodding movie called "Coup de Tete.
He had thought about how pressure to win perverts le sport and les sportifs, and society at large. And vice-versa. So he cast Patrick Dewaere as a second-string player for a factory-sponsored allegedly amateur team who gets bounced for being uppity, for playing too hard and offending the team star.
He not only is thrown off the team, he is thrown out of his job and thrown out of his apartment and thrown out of his favorite bar and, finally, thrown into prison for a crime he didn't commit. The crime is rape, of course, because this a French movie, see, and this allows us to get vicarious sex while the hero really is being raped by society. In case we don't get the symbolism right off, they slap him around some and there is this byplay about the cop's shrinking finger.
So there he is in prison, this rapee, but a drunk throws up on a bus driver and the bus skids and another bus turns over and some team members are hurt on their way to the championship tournament and they need Dewaere again.
So corrupt is society -- winning is all -- that a phone call gets him out of prison, this officially guilty actually innocent person, and he is bound over to the coach for a day, indentured to play. But, tee-hee, he isn't having any, so he runs away back to prison, with a stopover to really rape his alleged victim, which gets us some nice breast shots. But he's a good guy, and he can't do it, and his unvictimized victim begins to fall in love with him. She's beautiful and rich, need it be said.
The police catch him on the way back to prison and haul him off to the game. Because he loves soccer he can't help playing his best, and because his heart is pure his strength is as the strength of 10, and guess who scores the tying and winning goals in the next-to-final game.
Guess who gets vindicated.
Guess who gets even.
Guess who gets the girl.
Guess who has taken a decent satirical premise and belabored it to death, very slowly, very clumsily and very thoughtfully.