The French Kissers

Director: Riad Sattouf

France • 2009 • 90 minutes

Pubescent, pimply, sex-obsessed high-schoolers Herve (Vincent Lacoste) and Camel (Anthony Sonigo) want to get girlfriends, get laid and get cool. So far, so American Pie. But there’s far more to this wonderful teen comedy than masturbation-based gross-out gags. Don’t get me wrong, they’re here in spades but comic-book writer turned filmmaker Riad Sattouf also brings a warmth and intelligence to his film which is so often lacking in its American counterparts.

Herve and Camel don’t exactly have much luck with the ladies, so it comes as something of a shock when classmate Aurore (Alice Tremolieres) shows an interest in the hapless Herve and the two embark on an awkward relationship. Astutely observed and, at times, very sweet natured, Sattouf strikes just the right balance between the genuinely touching moments we can all relate to and those outrageous, cringe-worthy scenes that, well, we can all relate to.

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