Somewhere between a plunge and a failure, is the French comic drama "Le Grand Bain", which instead of being translated as "The Big Bath" for the American public was titled "Sink or Swim", ironically, a reflection I need more insight into how each scene looks in this story of agitated male crisis. (They sink mostly.)
When the man from the unemployed suburban family Bertrand (Mathieu Amalric) swaps his bathrobe all day for swim trunks, it is to see if participation in a municipal pool's synchronized male swim team will restore his pride. But it's a group of depressed / foolish participants, including a hot-headed dad (Guillaume Canet), an unseen rock musician (Jean-Hugues Anglade) and a bankrupt businessman (Benoit Poelvoorde). Even the youngest and most professional former coach of the group (Virginie Efira) has self-care issues.
Alternating between sentimental and salty, philosophical and goofy, writer / director Gilles Lellouche's gaucho stab in a "Full Monty" style elevator is too full of frayed staples of the genre (training comedy, bite size humiliations) and too uninterested in the story / details of the characters (turning pot-bellied mops into athletic competitors) to offer something really refreshing about the solution to midlife discouragement. The irony is that the men's final performance at the Norwegian championships is touching enough that the lack of attention to how these misfits might have realistically gotten there makes "Sink or Swim" even more frustrating.
& # 39; Sink or Swim & # 39;
In French with English subtitles
Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes
Playing: Begins October 11, Laemmle Royal, West Los Angeles