Tuesday, March 25, 2008

La Florida. Out today - best be bilingual. (*****5/10)

The longer the winter drags on here in Ottawa, the more people will think about packing up and moving. And where do Canadians go when they want to escape from the cold? Why, Florida of course. Of course, most Canadians who do so wait until they are quite old. Hence, the snowbirds. La Florida is about a man from Quebec (Remy Girard) who decides to make that move while he is still young enough to make some money while he’s there. This 1993 Canadian movie is just now receiving it’s release on DVD, today, from Alliance Films. It is the story of a Montreal man who uproots his family, buys a motel in Florida near the beach, and fixes it up. In order to make his business a success, he must contend with cartoon rival motel owners. Especially one guy, who is a former enforcer for the Canadiens. This guy walks around talking evil, laughing evil, staring evil, and he has a lackey who jumps around him like that little dog used to jump around the big dog on the Looney Tunes.

Not only does this entrepreneur have to deal with rival businessmen, but he has to keep a lid on his rebellious son and slutty daughter. This girl wears next to nothing all the time, and has several boyfriends and parades herself about all over the Florida beach. She is certainly hot, but in the time I have spent in Montreal, I can attest to the fact that there are NO girls in Quebec who wear slutty clothes like this and there are NO girls in Quebec who are as flirtatious as this and there are NO girls in Quebec who would give themselves over so freely to a handsome stranger. I know this because when I was in Quebec, I WAS that handsome stranger. And I tried and I tried...well, maybe I just wasn’t so handsome.

When watching La Florida, I thought "Oh my God! THAT’s what happened to Margot Kidder!" But then I realized that it was filmed in 1993, and 15 years have passed, and Margot Kidder could still be anywhere. Another unsolved mystery. OK, for those of you who are going to tell me where Margot Kidder actually is right now, she is currently alive and well and in post-production on two films, A Single Woman and Universal Signs. Margot Kidder lives on! In La Florida, Kidder plays Vivi Lamori, the evil, conniving mother of a man who is attempting to buy out the motel from under our protagonists, the Lesperance family. There are several groups attempting to drive the family out of Florida, where motels are popping up everywhere. Lots of stuff happens, some of it funny, some of it dramatic, some of it boring.

To truly appreciate La Florida, it would be best to speak both French and English. Either way, you are going to have to deal with some subtitles. The film is in both languages, and when they speak English, the French subtitles appear on the screen whether you want them or not. And if you don’t speak French at all, the subtitles can be very distracting, since the English and French then appear at the same time, and take up half the screen whenever the characters are speaking English. There are some pretty good performances, mostly from Remy Girard, who plays the patriarch of the family, and also from Marie-Josee Croze, (seen most recently in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) who plays his daughter. She really has nothing to do in the movie except wear almost nothing and look hot...but she does it well. La Florida is tremendously Canadian, fairly generic, but has moments that are truly fun and interesting. If you’re bilingual.

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