Movie review of “Microbe and Gasoline”: A charming celebration of short-lived midteen friendships, Michel Gondry’s latest comedy is a companion piece to his 2004 Oscar winner, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Rated 3 stars out of 4.

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A celebration of short-lived midteen friendships, Michel Gondry’s latest comedy focuses on the relationship between an artist, Daniel, nicknamed Microbe (he’s small), and a gifted mechanic, Theo, also known as Gasoline.

When they take to the open road in their (very) handmade vehicle (it looks like a low-tech mistake that couldn’t possibly take passengers anywhere), they might as well be nicknamed Huck and Jim. Their wooden vehicle of choice even resembles a raft.

They talk about dating do’s and don’ts, acquire goofy defensive mechanisms and escape from an obsessed dentist and a hairdresser who has deflowering on her mind. Ange Dargent is almost girlish as the more vulnerable Daniel/Microbe. Theophile Baquet is convincingly practical as Theo/Gasoline.

Movie Review ★★★  

‘Microbe and Gasoline,’ with Ange Dargent, Theophile Baquet. Written and directed by Michel Gondry. 103 minutes. Rated R for sex talk involving young teenagers. In French, with subtitles. SIFF Cinema Uptown.

Audrey Tautou (the star of “Amelie”) invites squirms as Daniel’s single-minded, possessive mother. But the emphasis here is not on adults but the point of view of young teenagers who find themselves visiting the edge of adulthood.

The laughs are sometimes bigger than expected, and so are the emotions stirred by the bittersweet finale. In the end, this collection of Gondry-style sight gags plays like a long goodbye to childhood. It’s a whimsical companion piece to Gondry’s 2004 Oscar winner, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”