This is a charming, saucy and insanely amusing little film, featuring Catherine Spaak and assorted body doubles in such generous amounts of body, only a hater of physical beauty won't be charmed. Possibly to death.
Note; whatever you do, buy the VHS. Not only is the DVD a bust no pun, please, but many of Ms. Spaak's more revealing and best, (and I MEAN revealing) moments, have been edited out. (Le recul, le chéri de Catherine ?) These included a nice shot for posterity, of Cat's um, posterior as well as a well full-frontal surprise this delectable Belgian hottie plays on a school teacher. Not to mention that color separation and poor film stock issues are actually exacerbated on the DVD. There is really nothing to recommend it- except that most won't watch VHS any more. (The DVD does have a few cute outtakes, but my God, we're talking a gorgeous woman, like no other, who plays horsie at great length in the film; surely THAT footage should have been the source of any outtakes.)
The film and its incessantly catchy theme commenced
and we find our girl Spaak at her husband's funeral. Far from remorseful, Spaak's 'Mimi' says of his death, she feels 'nothing.' But soon, SOON, dear viewer, she'll feel SOMETHING and in a big way and often!
While as fluffy as a Roman Cloud in May, this movie is cited for having a few underlying themes of the 'eat drink and be merry for tomorrow
,' as well as 'know thy woman or else' type. Perhaps, perhaps not. Doesn't matter. The film is hysterical and very much like the music of the Smiths if anyone else tried this stuff, it would be a disaster; in their capable hands, a delight.
Even if Rome has few clouds of any kind in May
Freed from a husband for whom sexually, Mimi never responded, she proceeds to go on a tear, of if memory serves, 8 count em' eight, men in a row, not to mention an apparent orgy where God knows what the score may have been.
It happens that Spaak's deceased had a play pen in Rome, a hideaway where the latter took his gals, including Spaak's best friend. Spaak learns of this piede e terre through her attorney whom she then beds. She then goes through the roll call: dentist, tennis pro, john, (a guy who thinks she's a prostitute) sadist, (truly regrettable, but very much of the times and a reminder one hopes, of what's NOT acceptable any longer), plumber, (not just 'any plumber' but in fact, her maid's husband) and finally, doctor. Not to mention whatever is going on in the orgy scene, which is actually another film; the orgy occurs in a movie that Catherine plays to the doctor to try and dissuade him from proposing marriage.
Nothing doing. This doctor is no fool. He hangs in there and is not put off by her scandalous behavior. Even excites him within the context of, 'family life.'
Amusingly, from the earliest scenes, Mimi is shown boning up on various abnormal sexuality tomes.
One of which suggests that Aristotle became aroused through the act of playing horse, or as translated from Italian, 'Ride a cock horse.' Therein lies the films resolution. Owing to a sprained ankle recently suffered, Mimi asks the doctor to carry her. A few unforgettable scenes later and the two are saying how boring their wedding was and Spaak proceeds to ride her new beau into a boundless matrimonial bliss. Obviously, this cat catered to her thing, which of course resolved all her long-held inhibitions, etc. You get it.
With this flick, Ridley Scott directed a wonderful, charming witty and above all, genuinely hilarious film, if very much, of its time. Me thinks Catherine Spaak's role could not have been performed by any other, as it is her ability as a comedienne and of course her incredible (and highly unusual) beauty - and other bits - that make this so special. Why, that gal Spaak has more 'it' than the top leading ladies of today, rolled together! As to WHY Ridley Scott used such terrible film stock, you'd have to ask him.
A MUST SEE for laughs and when you just need a shot of pure unadulterated sexuality, the real deal, not some creature from a West Hollywood surgeon who left some poor girl's best parts on the cutting room floor.
Summer 2004 *Also know as La Matriarca.