Imagine "Terms of Endearment" filmed inside Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and you get an idea of the oppressive whimsy that is weirdly juxtaposed to the dark drama of director Michel Gondry’s "Mood Indigo."
Gondry ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") adapts "L’écume des Jours," a beloved (by the French, anyway) novel by Boris Vian, a surrealist love story about Colin (Romain Duris), a well-heeled inventor developing his cocktail-making piano.
Opens Friday, Aug. 8, at the Tower Theatre; not rated, but probably R for brief nudity, some violence and mature themes; in French with subtitles; 94 minutes.
While his compatriots, lawyer/chef Nicolas (Omar Sy) and philosophizing best pal Chick (Gad Elmaleh), are finding romance, Colin decides he wants to fall in love, and soon does with the sensitive Chloe (Audrey Tautou). They have a whirlwind romance, including a ride on clouds over Paris, but the movie turns dark when Chloe falls ill and Colin must spend his entire fortune in a desperate bid to save her.
Gondry overloads his sets with a toy-box of visuals — from a see-through car to stop-motion animation of Nicolas’ self-cooking meals — and winking references to Vian’s contemporaries, jazzman Duke Ellington and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Alas, any honest emotion gets lost in all the hustle and bustle of Gondry’s eye candy.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.