Director Ridley Scott
Starring Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Marion Cotillard, Freddie Highmore
Film *** Extras ***
Ridley Scott tries to make us jealous and Russell Crowe tries to make us laugh in the male self-discovery sub-genre, in which repellent urban warriors see the error of their ways after spending time in the country with amusing locals, simple cuisine and sexy, single waitresses. Here, it’s Crowe’s city pirate Max trekking to Provence, where his late uncle (Albert Finney) has bequeathed him a vineyard. Watching Crowe attempt to be a nimble, light-footed comedian is as unappealing as it sounds, although Scott – who’s lived in the south of France for 15 years – plays up the antagonistic Anglo- French cultural divide with humorous aplomb. And once director and star get the Jacques Tati moments out of their system, this settles into a charming character odyssey, ripe with engaging turns from Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Tom Hollander and – in affectionate flashbacks – Finney and Freddie Highmore as young Max.