Petites Couperes has ominous music, constantly hinting that something terrible is going to happen. In many ways something terrible does happen, namely the film. But that is too glib a dismissal of what is a pretty entertaining if pretty vapid movie. I was attracted in by the cast, Daniel Auteil and Ludivine Sagnier have a decent tiff in the trailer. In the film however, bar a great opening sequence featuring Sagnier, we follow Auteil’s hangdog communist reporter. The communism is a tic, this is a film full of amusing tics and little to hang them together. All the communists in the film have to answer why they are still communists. You know – since the wall.

The plot concerns Auteil’s journo who is at a bit of a loose end and is pleased to be summoned to help out his corrupt uncle. Along the way he keeps seducing women, which is a pity because he really loves his wife (this kind of thing happens in French films all the time). He ends up having a rather strange evening with a perky and odd Kristen Scott Thomas, all the more odd for looking strangely like Famke Janssen. Thomas, still thanking her lucky stars for her French lessons at school, plays the step daughter of a grumpy old communist (you know, the wall) who is also his wife. This kind of thing happens in French films all the time too.

The film is shot beautifully, has the requisite moments of tension and humour and is wholly dispensable. It is the death twitch of a certain type of French movie, the sophisticated sex dramas of the eighties. This doesn’t even have the sex. If you had to choose between it and Le Chignon D’Olga then I would take the latter. But if you HAD TO choose then you would be in a pretty unfortunate situation. One for you only if you are getting French film withdrawal.