Coco Delights Toronto Audiences

Published: April 22nd 2010
in Culture » Movies

Pascale Arbillotand Gad Elmaleh in "Coco"
Pic: Legende Films

Let’s face it, Coco is no masterpiece of a film. It hasn’t won any Oscars or Golden Globes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some genuine jokes and laugh-out-loud moments. 


Set in Paris, the comedy  tells the story of Coco, a flamboyant multimillionaire who wants to make his son’s Bar Mitzvah the biggest day in history. Not even the sky limits this self-made millionaire – literally (he’s been to the moon and built a synagogue).


When he learns that he has a heart defect and that his life is at risk, Coco makes a point to focus nearly all of his attention on his son’s party, as opposed to the actual Bar Mitzvah ceremony.


Think of Coco as Keeping Up with the Steins meets You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. The movie features France’s Sephardic Jewish community in the same way Zohan featured Israeli immigrants in the United States.


The comedy is the brainchild of comedian Gad Elmaleh, who makes his directorial debut with Coco. Born in Morocco to a Jewish family, Elmaleh, who now resides in France, is a well-known comedian there and throughout Europe.


Elmaleh, who’s won multiple awards – including the “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” by France’s Minister of Culture – has a Canadian connection. According to reports, he studied in Montreal before moving to Paris to pursue theatre.


The comedian exhibits a non-stop, vibrant performance that keeps Coco alive. It’s as if he’s taken five Red Bulls for each scene. Elmaleh turns a character that could be quite loathsome into a likable human being. 


Unfortunately, the film does tend to drag on. While the movie’s first half is fun and filled with laughs, it slowly draws to an end as Coco tries to make amends with his wife (played by Pascale Arbillot), son (Nicolas Jouxtel), and mother (Gladys Cohen) – who all agree that he’s gone way too far with his Bar Mitzvah plans.

Related articles: (Coco, Gad Elmaleh, movie review, comedy, French film)
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