'Le French Romp', a genre that has provided plenty of laughs over the years: engaging characters, ridiculous situations and shoulder shrugging that the rest of us can only aspire to. From the outside 'Cockles and Muscles' looks like a treat - family heads to summer house, romance and mix-ups ensue - but it's not funny enough to deserve your time.
With daughter Laura (Seyvecou) heading off with her biker boyfriend and son Charly (Torres) busy with his visiting friend Martin (Collin), Béatrix and Marc (Bruni-Tedeschi and Melki) look set for a hassle-free summer in the South of France. If only. First Béatrix gives Marc sleepless nights by asking him if he thinks Charly and Martin are an item; then Béatrix's lover (Bonnaffé) turns up unannounced and a face from Marc's past makes him think about the future.
While there's nothing particularly awful about 'Cockles and Muscles' it's one of those films that thinks it's far wittier and sexier than it really is – light, breezy and not much to it. Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau's series of mix-ups and mistakes feel too familiar to be interesting and, despite decent performances, you'll be too bored to care about who's going to end up with who. It won't help your mood that the film ends in a way that could only happen in French cinema either.
As a very long ad for French tourism, though, it works a treat.