Like magic | Papi or papa?

On the verge of breakthrough, a widowed magician must entrust his newborn daughter to her invasive father-in-law.

For his seventh feature film, As if by magic, Christophe Barratier relied on a sure value: the talent of Gérard Jugnot. Having directed him in The chorists (2004), Faubourg 36 (2008) and The new war of buttons (2011), the director, who has enjoyed making films with good intentions for a dozen years, this time offers him the role of a grieving grandpa.

Alongside the distinguished actor, the comedian, screenwriter and actor Kev Adams (Retirement home 2, by Claude Zidi Jr.) plays a dad for the first time in his career. If he appears completely at ease during the magic numbers, which he performs himself with Claire Chust, the actor has a rather limited range. To express sadness, he widens his eyes until he cries; for joy, he is content with a forced smile. And for the rest, he displays a neutral face. At least there is some chemistry between Adams and the solid Jugnot.

In the middle of a performance, Victor (Adams), a rising magician, learns that his wife is about to give birth. Barely arriving at the hospital, where Jacques (Jugnot), his father-in-law, is waiting for him, he is told that his wife, who was also his scene partner, died while giving birth to their little Lison. Gold, “ the show must go on »as Freddie Mercury sang.

As contract offers pile up, Nina (Chust, who speaks in a corny tone although her character is supposed to have character), born under X like her childhood friend Victor, convinces the latter to make her his new assistant . As for Jacques, as considerate as he is invasive, he maneuvers to be in charge of the baby. Soon, Victor understands that he risks depriving himself of his daughter for the benefit of his career.

Staged without much imagination, filmed without brilliance, As if by magic accumulates supposedly funny scenes that we have seen more than once. There, a parade of nannies, each more crazy than the other; there, a dad who clumsily juggles with bottles and who screams in front of full diapers.

As for the themes chosen by screenwriters Serge Lamadie, Fabrice Bracq and Cyril Gelbat, mourning, work-family balance, extended family and unwavering friendship, they are all explored with empty formulas and misty eyes. Finally, collaborating for the first time with Christophe Barratier, the composer Bertrand Burgalat (Royal Palace!by Valérie Lemercier) covers everything with a syrupy soundtrack with which it risks knocking out the viewer rather than moving them.


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As if by magic


As if by magic

Christophe Barratier

Kev Adams, Gérard Jugnot, Claire Chust

1:33 a.m.



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