Stupid is as stupid does

By | 2017-10-31T07:52:34-04:00 October 31st, 2017|Entertainment|

Oh, to be young, good looking and stupid.
Loïc, the character at the center of the film “Garon Stupide” is all three.
He’s also uncircumcised, a fact the film gives you multiple opportunities to discover.
“Garçon Stupide,” the cinematic baby of director Lionel Baier, is a story of a young man on the brink of self: self-awareness and self-destruction.
Shot in a documentary style, the film opens with Loïc (Pierre Chatagny) waiting outside in the dark for a trick to pick him up. That trick is Lionel and, in a technique that smacks of film school pretension, is played by an unseen Baier.
Lionel takes a keen interest in Loïc. He also takes him to McDonald’s.
Loïc meets up with Lionel several times throughout the film and through their conversations we learn about Loïc. Mostly we learn that he is naive, immature and not particularly bright. Lionel’s interest in the young man is never really clear. While Loïc has sex with plenty of men in the film (very few explicit details are spared, though the sex is more clinical than sexy), he never has sex with Lionel. Loïc is a troubled young man and not used to non-sexual attention. His relationship with Lionel confuses him and this confusion culminates in an awkward meeting in a subway restroom in which Lionel rejects Loïc’s sexual demands.
But Loïc has other things going on in his life besides tricks. He has his job in a chocolate factory, his obsession and unlikely relationship with a professional footballer and an interest in photography. But the most interesting aspect of his life is his co-dependent relationship with his friend Marie (played by French actress Natacha Koutchoumov and by far the most interesting and sympathetic character in the film).
What exactly Loïc and Marie were or are isn’t clear. Are they ex-lovers? Best friends? Boyfriend and girlfriend? All of the above? One thing is for sure, their relationship is dysfunctional. Marie clearly cares a great deal for Loïc and his sexual escapades, complete with glib play-by-plays, upset her. Yet she lets him crash at her place and sleep in her bed. Loïc seems to care only about, and not for, himself.
In many ways Marie is more like a mother to him than a friend or girlfriend. She’s Loïc’s anchor – his only source of caring in a confusing and often cruel world. When tragedy strikes, Loïc is ill-prepared emotionally and psychologically to deal.
In fact, Loïc isn’t prepared to deal with much of anything. He’s a 20-year-old child. His lack of knowledge and naivetŽ is at times confounding – like when he tells the footballer he’s been stalking that he is a professional photographer, apparently unaware that actual photographers don’t just snap pictures of their trick’s penis piercings with a camera phone. More than once I thought Loïc was mentally impaired, albeit mildly. This would have lent him some sympathetic credibility. Alas, it does not seem as if Loïc was portrayed this way intentionally.
Then again, naming a film “Garçon Stupide” (that’s “stupid boy” in French, though the film takes place in Switzerland) sets some pretty basic expectations from the start – expectations this film sadly does not meet. For one thing, most people do not like people they find to be stupid and don’t choose to spend time with them. So to make them want to sit through a movie about a self-described “stupid boy,” there had better be enough emotional complexity or at least some “Rain Man” or “Forrest Gump” qualities to get the viewer’s sympathy.
But then, Tom Hanks and Dustin Hoffman didn’t treat us to full-frontal nudie shots.

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