“Baby Blues” – Chris Luedtke

I once took a business class in junior high school that had a large part of the semester dedicated to doing the stock market. The main lesson I took from it was that one should either shoot real high or real low if one wants to come out on top of the game. Falling in the middle meant failure in the class; it meant no risks were taken and very little thought was put into the stocks that were purchased. This sort of rule can be applied to movies. Great movies like Citizen Kane shot high by taking high risks and hit the top becoming blue chips in the business of films, whereas crappy movies like Gigli get to the top temporarily by being the lowest of the low and short-selling the viewer and having a reputation of being downright crap. So where does Baby Blues fall into place? Dead smack in the middle.

 

Baby Blues has a decent concept going for it: the skeleton of a newborn baby is found by building workers in a small French town. Immediately, Detective Jacques Deveure (Vincent Winterhalter) is on the case with his partner Granier (François Berléand). However, the idea is quickly overstated and underdone not more than twenty minutes into the film.

 

The most entertaining aspect of the film is Audrey Tautou’s character Blandine Piancet. Baby Blues was some of her early work in her career and doesn’t have problem turning all attention to her character in this one. Had the film focused more on her “is she really crazy” aspect, it would have been much better, but instead the film decides to send Deveure around to an array of different characters asking the same questions over and over again throughout. It becomes not only monotonous but just flat-out irritating. I didn’t care about who killed the baby anymore by the time the film hit its halfway point; all I wanted was some plot advancement. But what’s to be expected from a made for television film?

 

I have begun to wonder how much anyone except Tautou really cared here. The acting here was incredibly bland and no character was really that fleshed out. I know there was an attempt to make the characters engaging and interesting because they do have some bizarre qualities, but unfortunately those are washed away with the constant idleness of the plot. The main character is especially stereotyped and belongs in an actual noir, not a pseudo-noir such as this.

 

With all that said, this wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. The bad just unfortunately overshadows the good by a lot. The car chases, for example, I couldn’t help but laugh at. It was as if the director sat back by a corner and said, “Let’s film some cars driving past us,” and those were to be taken as chase sequences. The terrible camera work is also abundant throughout, and the flashbacks…well, I won’t get into those, but they were certainly more irritating after all was said and done.

 

The only reason to see this film would be to see how quirky Tautou can make her character. She’s easily the most random and unique character within Baby Blues and really the only reason to watch it. Aside from that, the rest of the film is great if you want something that likes to hear itself talk and attempt to move along a plot by asking the same questions over and over and over. Baby Blues is avoidable and easily forgotten, walking the fine, safe line of mediocrity instead of shooting high and possibly coming out at the top or short-selling its audience.

 

Rating: ★★☆☆

 

-Chris Luedtke

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