A scene from 'My Wife is an Actress'
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"MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS (Ma femme est une actrice)"
**1/2 stars
93 minutes | Rated: R
Limited: Friday, July 19, 2002
Written & directed by Yvan Attal

Starring Yvan Attal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Terence Stamp, Noemie Lvovsky, Laurent Bateau, Ludivine Sagnier, Keith Allen, Lionel Abelanski


If this film were in English so you didn't have to read along, I'd call it a good movie to watch while doing chores. But I don't know if I'd spend an hour and a half giving it my undivided attenion.

   VIDEO RELEASE: 12.10.2002


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Jealousy strikes French 'civilian' married to a movie star in cursory comedy starring real-life couple

By Rob Blackwelder

In real life, sort-of-famous French actor Yvan Attal is married to very famous French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, and their fourth film together -- entitled "My Wife Is an Actress" -- is a belly-button-gazing comedy that explores and exaggerates Attal's own neuroses about being married to a big star.

Attal writes, directs and plays a sports journalist -- also named Yvan -- who has been very happily married to a famous actress -- named Charlotte, played by Gainsbourg -- for a couple years. But he's beginning to go a touch crazy with jealousy over having to share her with the world. It's bad enough being interrupted by autograph hounds every time they go out and dealing with strangers who accost him about his feelings regarding his wife's nude scenes. Now every nagging doubt he's had is boiling to the surface because of Charlotte's lady-killing cad of a co-star (Terrence Stamp) in her latest film -- a romantic drama with a major sex scene.

Percolating with potential, "My Wife" has inspired moments of behind-the-scenes wit, and Attal effectively taps into his character's (or is it his own?) psyche as Yvan's paranoia brings out the worst in him. But as the plot advances and the husband-wife relationship becomes strained, the comedy becomes dependent on extremes of emotional immaturity in these two characters, which only serves to make them annoying. (And what's with the random subplot about Yvan's sister arguing with her husband over circumcising their as yet unborn son?)

Terrence Stamp ("The Limey") is particularly entertaining as he slyly but in no uncertain terms comes on to Charlotte on the set of their film, playing his aging-but-still-considered-sexy international superstar character like a lecherous riff on Sean Connery.

But since the two characters at the center of "My Wife Is an Actress" aren't nearly as enjoyable, the picture's cleverness is ironically muted by the very people who are intended to make it shine.


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