Review: 'Marry Me, Dude' is a feel-good comedy that transcends language barriers

Marcus Goh
Contributor
PHOTO: Shaw Organisation

It’s been a long time since a film had me laughing out loud in cinemas, but “Marry Me, Dude” does exactly that — despite the fact that it’s in French (which I don’t quite understand). It has English subtitles, and that’s enough to understand the movie enough to appreciate the varying levels of humour.

The comedy revolves around Yassine (Tarek Boudali) and Fred (Philippe Lacheau), male buddies who embark on a sham gay marriage in France so that Yassine, who’s Moroccan, can continue staying in the country. Unfortunately, a dogged policeman is out to prove that their marriage is fake, Fred’s girlfriend is rather unhappy with the situation, Yassine’s highly traditional mother comes for a visit and his old love interest re-enters his life. The pair have to juggle the pretence of being in a gay marriage without ruining their respective lives.

All of that takes place within 92 minutes – one of the greatest strengths of the movie is its fast pace. Scenes are snappy and quick without feeling rushed, and the plot moves on from beat to beat without any leaps of logic. There’s barely a wasted minute or boring second because events unfold at a speedy pace throughout the movie. This rhythmic plotting elevates the humour of the film, since it puts you in the mood for rapid banter and physical humour.

And the film handles physical humour well. While it’s still arguably slapstick, the visual comedy is used sparingly and in the most unexpected ways. As a result, you rarely see such jokes coming and they’re one of the most effective comedy tools that the film uses. In a film where multiple sight gags are used and the juxtaposition of incongruous images are what make it all funnier, it’s impressive to note that the slapstick moments can still elicit laughs, perhaps thanks to the reactions of Tarek Boudali.

PHOTO: Shaw Organisation

Boudali doesn’t just play the protagonist of the film — he’s also the director. Usually, it’s difficult to be on two sides of the camera in any production, since one will lack the objectivity required to critique performances and direct actions. So it’s a pleasant surprise to see that he does admirably in both roles with good scene compositions and direction, as well as an earnest performance of Yassine, the well-meaning, but completely clueless character.

Yassine holds the film together, since he’s the one who triggers the inciting incident. Despite his ridiculous choices and sometimes questionable logic, there’s no doubting his sincerity in caring about the people around him. Boudali’s comic timing is superb, as are those of his co-stars.

PHOTO: Shaw Organisation

Despite a fairly controversial theme, the film has none of the grittiness or complicated discussions you might expect. In fact, it plays the trope straight (pardon the pun) and ends with feel-good vibes. It manages to give almost all the characters a proper arc and ties up their storylines, which is no mean feat given that more experienced directors have had trouble managing smaller casts of characters.

“Marry Me, Dude” is proof that good comedy transcends language barriers, with audiences bursting out laughing during the screening. It’s also one of the rare films where the same person (Boudali) directs and acts, and wears both hats well. For his first film, Boudali exceeds expectations and demonstrates his talent, and this reviewer looks forward to more films by the actor-director.

Should you watch this at weekday movie ticket prices? Yes.

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? Yes.

Score: 4.0/5

Secret ending? No.

Running time: 92 minutes (~1.5 hours)

“Marry Me, Dude” is a French comedy. It is directed and written by Tarek Boudali, with additional writing credits for Khaled Amara, Pierre Dudan, and Nadia Lakhdar. It stars Tarek Boudali (Yassine), Philippe Lacheau (Fred), Charlotte Gabris (Lisa), David Marsais (Stan), Baya Belal (Ima), Philippe Duquesne (Dussart), and Andy Raconte (Claire). It is rated M-18.

“Marry Me, Dude” opens in cinemas:
– 28 December, 2017 (Singapore)

Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter, having written for “Lion Mums”, “Crimewatch”, “Incredible Tales”, and “Police & Thief”. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.

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