Joyeuses Pâques  (1984) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Joyeuses Pâques is an old-fashioned sex comedy in the Western European style, which means naughtier than a Doris Day and Rock Hudson film, but with a similar tone. If you watch it with the "mute" button on, you might easily mistake it for an Italian movie from the late 60s, although it is actually a French movie from fifteen years later.

Belmondo plays a playboy industrialist with an eye for fast cars, fast boats and fast women. He is also married, but he always manages to get home in time to keep his wife from getting suspicious about his activities. One day he sends his wife off for a long trip, thus anticipating a relaxing non-stop orgy of beautiful babes to share his bed, starting with the gorgeous young one (Sophie Marceau) he picks up at the airport.

Well, things go wrong. Isn't that the whole point of these films?

Mrs Belmondo's trip is cancelled. She pulls up into their driveway that same night, just as young Sophie is about to remove her blouse. Belmondo panics, struggles for a credible explanation for Sophie's presence, and finally has to admit to his wife that he is caught, and that he must confess a secret he's been keeping for a long time - Sophie is his daughter!

His bullshit story actually works out very well for a while. Mrs Belmondo even invites her newly discovered stepdaughter to stay with them, and Belmondo is purring like a cat in a henhouse until Sophie's mom shows up at a dinner party. Belmondo manages to weasel around the fact that he doesn't seem to know the woman, nor she him, despite the fact that they were supposed to have a daughter together. Our hero really gets his comeuppance, however, when the old sot starts to tell the dinner guests about the monstrous creature that is Sophie's father, whom they all believe to be Belmondo.

And so forth. You get the idea ...

It's your basic Marcello Mastroianni movie, except with Belmondo instead of Mastroianni.

Belmondo is one of the greatest stars in the history of film, with a list of credits as long as your arm. In the early 60s he may have been the biggest star in Europe. He was also one of the coolest.

  1. (7.79) - À bout de souffle (1960)
  2. (7.71) - Doulos, Le (1962)
  3. (7.60) - Ciociara, La (1960)
  4. (7.51) - Une femme est une femme (1961)
  5. (7.45) - Professionnel, Le (1981)
  6. (7.37) - Pierrot le fou (1965)
  7. (7.36) - Misérables, Les (1995)
  8. (7.15) - Léon Morin, prêtre (1961)
  9. (7.13) - Un singe en hiver (1962)
  10. (7.03) - Cent mille dollars au soleil (1964)
  11. (7.02) - Magnifique, Le (1973)
  12. (6.96) - Sirène du Mississipi, La (1969)
  13. (6.85) - Homme de Rio, L' (1964)
  14. (6.78) - Classe tous risques (1960)
  15. (6.78) - Stavisky... (1974)
  16. (6.74) - Itinéraire d'un enfant gâté (1988)
  17. (6.74) - Cartouche (1962)
  18. (6.71) - Scoumoune, La (1972)
  19. (6.66) - Borsalino (1970)
  20. (6.65) - Peur sur la ville (1975)
  21. (6.49) - Paris brûle-t-il? (1966)
  22. (6.47) - Charlotte et son Jules (1960)
  23. (6.46) - Tricheurs, Les (1958)
  24. (6.40) - Voleur, Le (1967)
  25. (6.40) - As des as, L' (1982)
  26. (6.35) - À double tour (1959)
  27. (6.34) - Moderato cantabile (1960)
  28. (6.33) - Week-end à Zuydcoote (1964)
  29. (6.33) - Inconnu dans la maison, L' (1992)
  30. (6.32) - Mariés de l'an II, Les (1971)
  31. (6.32) - Flic ou voyou (1979)
  32. (6.32) - Hold-Up (1985)
  33. (6.25) - Corps de mon ennemi, Le (1976)
  34. (6.24) - Tribulations d'un chinois en Chine, Les (1965)
  35. (6.24) - Alpagueur, L' (1976)
  36. (6.23) - Animal, L' (1977)
  37. (6.23) - Cerveau, Le (1969)
  38. (6.20) - Docteur Popaul (1972)
  39. (6.19) - Héritier, L' (1973)
  40. (5.97) - Casse, Le (1971)
  41. (5.96) - Aîné des Ferchaux, L' (2001) (TV)
  42. (5.96) - Solitaire, Le (1987)
  43. (5.92) - Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma, Les (1995)
  44. (5.91) - Marginal, Le (1983)
  45. (5.84) - Sois belle et tais-toi (1958)
  46. (5.71) - Peut-être (1999)
  47. (5.71) - Incorrigible, L' (1975)
  48. (5.68) - Morfalous, Les (1984)
  49. (5.68) - Une chance sur deux (1998)
  50. (5.61) - Joyeuses Pâques (1984)
  51. (5.56) - Amazone (2000)
  52. (5.21) - Casino Royale (1967)
  53. (5.17) - Acteurs, Les (2000)
  54. (5.12) - Guignolo, Le (1980)

As you can see from the highlighted cell on the list above, this is one of the least respected films in Belmondo's career. I suppose that is true for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it's a goofy lightweight comedy in which Belmondo plays pretty much of a feckless douchebag, far removed from the cool guys he once played for Godard and Truffaut. You might compare this phase of his career to the phase Robert DeNiro is going through now. Belmondo was 50 then, and was trying to find the right niche for his middle-aged self.

As the picture illustrates, while a young Belmondo would have gotten the girl, at this age he was pretty much left holding his cock.

Having said that this is not a film of substance, I should hasten to add that I found it pretty damned charming. Hell, even grade-B Belmondo is pretty good stuff. The photography and stunts are excellent, reminiscent of a James Bond film. Sophie Marceau was a cute little tootsie then; Belmondo was fine as the fox who is less foxy than he imagines; Marie Laforet was amusing as the wife who obviously knows a lot more than she lets on; and the ending is completely appropriate and clever. It's forgettable fluff, but I found it a pleasant time-killer.

DVD INFO:  This film is not available on a Region 1 DVD. There is a Region-free DVD available in Germany in PAL format, however. If you are in the States, you will be able to play it on any computer with a DVD drive, but will not be able to play it on a stand-alone player unless your TV knows what to do with PAL or your player knows how to convert it to NTSC. WARNING: although it has an excellent anamorphic widescreen transfer of the film with some extra features, there is NO English soundtrack. You can choose from French or German. The German DVD info can be found by clicking below.

Joyeuses Pâques DVD aka Happy Easter Sophie Marceau WS (1984)



Sophie Marceau - breasts. This was La Marceau's first real screen nudity.

Additional breasts were provided by various sybaritic babes hanging around on yachts and such.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C. If you like the European sex comedies, ala Mastroaianni, this is a watchable one.

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