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.
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.
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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.”