SMOKING CAUSES COUGHING
Director: Quentin Dupieux
2023, France, 80min., NR
Language: French with English subtitles
Cast: Gilles Lellouche, Vincent Lacoste, Anaïs Demoustier, Jean-Pascal Zadi, Oulaya Amamra, Benoît Poelvoorde, and Alain Chabat.
Imagine hearing an “elevator pitch” that sounds like no other: “It’s a French comedy inspired by the Power Rangers and Japanese sentai about five superheroes called the Tobacco Squad, whose team-building retreat is interrupted by Lézardin, Emperor of Evil’s plan to annihilate Earth.” Any producer worth their hot tub would jump right in, and propel writer/director Quentin Depieux’s film into the world. The superpower of the Tobacco Squad is channeling the nasty chemicals they are named after (Nicotine, Benzene, Mercury, Menthol & Ammonia,) at evildoers and murderous turtles. And while Batman and Ironman may deal with a little angst, the Tobacco Squad wins the dysfunctional sweepstakes: they are whiny, dim, untrustworthy, and lazy – and their boss is a lustful rat (puppeteered and voiced by Alain Chabat.) But in spite of their flaws, the excellent ensemble cast convinces us that magic is real, and their aim is true. “Welcome back to the zany world of Quentin Depieux…it may be his funniest yet!” – Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times. A New York Times Critics Pick.