Hello, friends in time, and welcome to a regular feature on Cinema 52 where I put my weekly viewing of Back to the Future on hold and watch another movie featuring time travel for comparison. It may not keep me sane, but it will probably always involve one guy shouting, “This doesn’t make any sense!” And that’s good enough for me.
LES COULOIRS DES TEMPS: LES VISITEURS 2 (1998)
Les couloirs du temps: Les visiteurs 2 is a sequel that can be found in the box for Les visiteurs. Sorry, that’s about all the enthusiasm I can muster for this one. Godefroy (Jean Reno) has to return to 1993 because “the corridors of time” are stuck open. It seems Jacquouille (Christian Clavier) left a jewel from 1123 behind, so Godefroy has to go find Le MacGuffin or… bad stuff will happen? Commence the slapstick.
I’m going to show you the most important page of my notes from watching this movie.
I was subjected to a string of so many awful physical gags that I swore they couldn’t possibly get any more clichéd, and then DESSERT IN THE BOOBS happened.
Yup. Something went down your tit slot.
Oh no. These men are putting spoons in your boobs. Sigh.
I could pretend to give a shit about the plot (some modern day guys get stuck in the past too??), but the filmmakers clearly didn’t. It’s all a catalyst for stupid joke after stupid joke. Reno and Clavier run around not understanding technology, things get broken, people get hurt, pee, poop, farts, the end. It’s so frantically cluttered that a simple scene of Clavier finding a plunger and giggling as he sticks it to walls is a welcome change of pace that seems almost brilliant.
Alright, ya got me, movie. Ha ha ha! HA! HAAA HAAA HAAA.
The performances are similar to the first movie, but with way more shouting. SO MUCH SHOUTING.
SHUT UP FOR A SECOND.
Christian Clavier, already playing the peasant Jacquouille and his modern day descendant Jacquard, now takes on a third role, because of course he does. It turns out that Jacquouille has an equally annoying cousin named Prosper le Purineur. Clavier uses this character to explore subtle new ways of being loud and unbearable.
Meet the Goldmember of this franchise.
Béatrice, the normal boring lady that takes in the time visitors, has been completely recast for this movie. For comparison, here’s Valérie Lemercier, the actress that played her in the original…
…and here’s Muriel Robin.
In addition to looking… noticeably different, Robin’s Béatrice is a complete change of character. She’s hamming it up with the rest of the cast, because this movie is apparently just too funny to have a straight man. My guess is that Valérie Lemercier was primarily a dramatic actress and they couldn’t find another who wanted to do the sequel, so they went with a comedienne because it has “comedy” in the name. Of course, I’m completely speculating based on limited information, but the only English phrase on Muriel Robin’s French Wikipedia page is “one woman show.”
Also returning is Marie-Anne Chazel as Ginette the homeless lady, who is still bonkers.
And still sounds like a French Eric Cartman.
Oh, I forgot to mention; Béatrice mistakenly thinks that Ginette is also from 1123 and spends most of the movie trying to send her back in time. I probably should have mentioned that in the story section, but this movie has stolen my ability to care. Anyway, yeah, Chazel and Robin are kind of a fun pair.
THE SPECIAL EFFECTS:
Remember how I was baffled by the first movie’s depiction of time travel as Godefroy and Jacquouille turning into literal ice and poop?
They still turn into ice and poop. Real, honest poop.
Well, apparently the spell is connected to your personality, because when Béatrice’s golf-loving husband Jean-Pierre (Christian Bujeau) drinks some time potion, he turns into golf balls.
Picture this at the foot of your bed tonight.
And when he returns…
Oh, fuck you, movie.
THE “NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!” MOMENT:
There are no major discussions of science or paradoxes, but here’s a dumb thing Golf Head shouts as he runs around 1123…
“I wanted to play golf, not end up in a holy war!“
Les visiteurs 2 is a nearly unwatchable pile of bad slapstick, predictable gags, aimless non-plots, gimmicky acting, desperate catchphrases, and terrifying special effects like this…
And then he pees in a broom closet!
I would like very much to put these films behind me, but hold on… there’s an American version.
LATER THIS WEEK:
Just Visiting (2001)
Want more time travel? Head on over to the Time Out archive.