It must be said that manga adaptations have rarely – if ever – left us with good memories. But the director / screenwriter / actor stood firm in the face of criticism. Is right ?
We have to understand our skepticism. We are as attached to Nicky Larson and Laura’s hammer blows as to City Hunter, the original manga by Tsukasa Hojo, and his famous “cuckoo” (the real ones will understand). To touch this monument of our youth – which we always reread or see again with pleasure – was to take the risk of seeing a character who is dear to us massacred on the big screen. Jackie Chan had done it before, and the idea of reliving such a disappointment didn’t particularly excite us, especially if the culprit was a compatriot.
Another source of mistrust, the Pippi Band in the main roles. It is important to clarify one point here: we appreciate Philippe Lacheau, Élodie Fontan, Tarek Boudali and Julien Arruti who have the merit of refreshing French comedy a little despite unequal and, in certain aspects, questionable productions. They have enormous sympathy capital.
Except that when we imagine the ace of the trigger, “Fifi” is clearly not our first choice to embody it and the first visuals did not reassure us. We feared that this Cupid’s Perfume would only be an opportunity for the troop to have a little egocentric trip and make us pay the price of the ticket. Feeling quickly reinforced by the first trailer and the highlighting of Boudali and Arruti in the skin of added characters.
Nicky Larson to the end of the Magnum
If we talk to you about all this, it’s because despite all our apprehension when discovering the film, we have to face the facts, it is with a smile that we left the room. Philippe Lacheau has kept saying it: he adapted Nicky Larson and not City Hunter, but make no mistake, he knows both. There is a deep respect for the work and, beyond the costumes, we appreciate to find all the characteristics of our heroes.
Unlike Japanese adaptations, the director does not make the mistake of imitating his drawn model and avoids falling into the sluggish exaggeration of reactions. This does not prevent Nicky from being as obsessed as expected, on the contrary.
We also applaud the malice with which the Babysitting dad was able to stage the most fantastic elements of the original material, in particular the famous club (no, we will not spoil), while preserving the guignolesque without sacrificing realism. We feel that the band leader has worked on his subject and has taken care not to forget anything, moving from a deep wink to the more discreet one that we sometimes find in the background. More than his desire to be as faithful as possible, it is through his sincere and generous love for Nicky Larson that Philippe Lacheau manages to make our fan hearts beat faster.
A desire to please that does not prevent some mistakes in the course. It is clear that our fear was justified and “Fifi” does not always show itself to be up to its role. Despite the muscles, he lacks credibility and naturalness when Nicky has to justify his status as a professional killer, as if he doesn’t really feel comfortable with that side of the character. No wonder then to see him avoid resorting to it as much as possible. On the other hand, no problem on the side of Élodie Fontan, perfect in volcanic Laura.
Club Dorothée forever
You don’t have to be a Nicky Larson fan to savor this Cupid’s Perfume. Far from the sanitized comedies that we are served a little too much in France, the humor Bande à Fifi does not lack punch when it comes to daring, while avoiding falling into the gritty. We take the opportunity to emphasize that if the team has always tended to like the little homophobic joke, it is never free here, and sticks to the character who, we recall, hates men. Indispensable, perhaps not, logical, undeniably.
And then there is this greedy use of elements of our daily life to make us laugh through slogans, quotes, references placed here and there. The director and co-writer (with his brother) never seems short of ideas and manages to use his writing skills and his framing with the same efficiency to make us laugh. At a breakneck pace, something is constantly happening or being said to each other on the screen.
We can say what we want, Philippe Lacheau puts his heart and energy to work. An excitement which gives, at times, to his film a little nanar side a bit disturbing in the first place. But considering the whole, one ends up thinking that even the lack of accuracy of play of the actors which scuttles some sequences would be finally voluntary. We saved the best for last since no Nicky Larson without… Le Club Dorothée! La Bande à Fifi was (like us) fed on the program of our national Doro – which obviously has the right to its cameo – and we must admit that it had fun giving us various and varied winks throughout long to cartoons and other iconic sitcoms.
Without giving you any examples, so as not to spoil your pleasure, just know that we have some hilarious, subtle, visual, devious … and they hit the mark every time! Nicky Larson and the Scent of Cupid is presented as a rich feature film, a generational work that is appreciated on different levels, but with the same pleasure, whether he is guilty or not.