Forte Review: All About Being A Frumpy Poll Dancer

Forte(French, Amazon Prime Video)

Starring Melha Bedia,Valérie Lemercier,Alison Wheeler,Bastien Ughetto,Jonathan Cohen,Ramzy Bedia

Directed  by Katia Lewkowicz

Rating: **

A  French comedy about an overweight  girl with  unconventional looks, seeking male company is not an unusual occurrence. Forte which also goes by the rather ugly title of  Ballsy Girl, has all the ingredients  of a delectable  soufflé-comedy. A chick flick with balls ? Check! Sassy overweight  heroine? Check! Supportive busybody friends trying to hook her up with  an eligible male? Check. A meddlesome  melodramatic mom? Check!

 In spite of  ticking all the boxes and tickling all the right  funnybones, Forte  falls short of expectations by miles. It’s neither funny nor audacious enough to qualify as this  era’s Juno.  Far from it!  The protagonist Nour(Melha  Bedia,a  standup comedian with  weight  issues that don’t  bother her at all, bravo!)  is  a  receptionist at a gym who is  …well…how do I  put this politely… on the prowl for male company.Her friends are stereotypically ditzy.For example a chap who thinks he’s gay but he  is  not.

 There  is this rather touching interlude with a centrepread type of pinup guy who takes Nour out for dinner  and then breaks her heart  by making  a business proposal. As it often happens in  such comedies about  unconventional squares  in circular   boxes, Nour deals with heartbreak  by doing  something unexpected. She decides to  learn pole dancing.

 Why  pole dancing? You may ask. I am sure  there is  a good reason for it. But I am just not convinced what  a  120-kilo teenager sliding up and down a pole is supposed to prove. Through all of these  peccadilloes,  Nour  remains  a puzzle  that can only be solved by  hard drinking or  serious sexual intercourse. By the  time  the  good wholesome kindhearted  handsome  boy shows up  Nour and the audience are wondering the same thing:  what  does he see in her?

Bits of  giggly laughter  will escape your mouth when Nour’s hysterical mother (Nanou Garcia) suspects her daughter has taken  to the oldest  profession in the world, or when the mother’s lover(nicely played  by Ramzy Bedia, the  heroine’s brother)  stalks  Nour to  know what she’s up to…but it’s never really as funny as it is meant to be.

 Nour’s problem is not her weight.  It’s just that she  is  not as funny or  feisty as she thinks and  comes across as a plain pain in the  derriere.  Whether this  is intentional or a lapse in  the actress’ performance, I don’t know.And it really doesn’t matter. At the  end,  the  cramped spaces  that this rom-com occupies , induced in me a a pang of regret  for the team behind this  coming-of-age  misfire. They mean well. God forgive them for they know not they’ve sinned.

 Such  a waste  of  young throbbing energy.

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