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The 6 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Moments From Cannes Opener 'Grace Of Monaco'

Features
by Jessica Kiang
May 14, 2014 3:00 PM
18 Comments
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So this morning the Cannes opener “Grace of Monaco” screened for critics, to a stunned response (here’s our full review), a few whistles of derision, and a light smattering of ironic applause. How did we know it was ironic, you might ask, since applause is merely the sound of palm striking palm? Well, because it came after “Grace of Monaco,” that’s how. But in many ways, the film has proven the ideal first movie of a major festival--literally almost anything has to be an improvement after it, and perhaps nothing could have bonded an audience full of strangers together more than getting the opportunity to guffaw in unison at the many, many clangers dropped throughout (think of tossing a bag of hammers down the side of a quarry for the level of clanginess we’re talking about). It’ll be a little while before you guys will get to check out this epic fail of a film for yourselves, but in the meantime, there are so many choice moments of unintentional hilarity that we want to share with you, because this shit is just too good to keep a lid on. Here in no particular order, are our top six. 

1. Derek Jacobi’s Parrot
In all honesty, Derek Jacobi’s whole performance should really be in here as it’s the gift that keeps on giving, even in the few hours since we’ve seen the film. But as Princess Grace’s etiquette and comportment coach, Count Something de Something, Jacobi really only gets a couple of distinctly “Kings Speech”-style montage scenes in which to make an impression, and seemingly the ormolu teapots and dandified cravats weren’t screaming “frou-frou aristocrat” loudly enough, so he goes with....a parrot, on his shoulder, Long John Silver-style. It’s only a brief moment, but it’s one of the times that we did a double take, as was the highly gif-able, meme-able close-up of his that ended the training montage: Grace Kelly has finally got her act together already and learned how to walk like a real princess instead of slouching about like an Oscar-winning actress and famed beauty, which earns her a single, curt but gracious nod from hard taskmaster The Count. It’s a moment that we feel must mean as much to Grace as all the Oscars and garlands in the world: JACOBI APPROVES.

2. Hitchcock’s Dialogue
Adding his name to the trivia answer about actors who have played Alfred Hitchcock, Roger Ashton-Griffiths plays the portly master of suspense this time out, and is introduced early being visibly taken with a particular tapestry hanging in the palace, while Parker Posey preaches to him about etiquette. Something about Hitch being thus taken with/struck by a tapestry already had us giggling, but it was his dialogue, and the sub-Hopkins vocal impersonation that Ashton-Griffiths delivers it in, that was even funnier. He’s Hitchock, see, so obviously he’ll never manage to get through a single sentence without shoehorning in a reference to one of his films, or some sort of life lesson delivered as an opaque nod to the craft of filmmaking. From the quick cut we have of him back in LA barking at (presumably) his screenwriter peremptorily “No no no! The Birds! Focus on the BIRDS!” to the screamingly contrived sagacity of, “Don’t stand too near to the edge of the frame, Gracie” delivered as nonsensical Life Advice, and voiced over a shot of Kidman, not just standing near the edge of the frame, but actually framed by a window frame too, not one line he speaks sounds like anything a human has ever said out loud. But a personal favorite is probably the tortuously offhand reply he delivers when Grace asks him who her co-star in “Marnie” would be; as near as we can remember he drawls something like, “Oh I don’t know. Cubby Broccoli has just cast some Scotsman in a spy movie, might be him.”  

3. When In Doubt, Push In Real Close
Distracting on so many levels, and seemingly designed to eternally remind us that we’re not looking at Grace Kelly but Nicole Kidman, it feels like fully half the film is delivered in vaseline-smeared extreme closeups that wander around Kidman’s face like they’re searching for their car keys. It’s particularly pronounced in one long, long sequence in which Grace is being counselled by Father Tuck (Frank Langella) and the whole time either of them are speaking we’re looking at Kidman’s hairline, or her jawbone, or her eyelashes, or her right nostril or (often) her tear-streaked cheek. It has a woozy, discombobulating effect that ends up paradoxically putting us at even greater distance from Kelly’s presumed inner turmoil as we get hung up on things like the white of her eye (bloodshot) and the quality of her dye job (good) and just how utterly and completely different Nicole Kidman looks in every respect from Grace Kelly.

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18 Comments

  • robthom | June 3, 2014 2:00 PMReply

    This sounds goofy.

    I'm sure she's a nice person (to be sure, surely),
    but something about the presence of Nicole Kidman in a movie always seems to signify a boardroom celebrity vehicle.

  • Oh the joy | May 17, 2014 6:39 PMReply

    Consecutive box office flop No. 19 for Kidman.

  • Irate Customer's Wife | May 16, 2014 10:01 AMReply

    Jessica Kiang is almost being too nice - Grace of Monaco is a whoopee cushion that actually emits a ghastly smelling fart when sat on. There's no cruelty in this and no one's being unnecessarily awful, snide or unfair about the movie. It's just the way it is - it's not everyday that a bad film fails to make your sphincter clench or bothers to tease your toes into curling - but does everything else to make you feel gleefully party to something superbly awful. No one is saying there was any intent to make this a shining turd. It just happens to be shining and it just happens to be a turd and quite coincidentally smells of turkey poo.

  • dave | May 16, 2014 12:53 AMReply

    The writing is why the movie sucked.

  • Anthony | May 15, 2014 8:39 AMReply

    I think this is BS. the film is great and just don't think the French want to appreciate it. The films blows such Kidman caca as Hemingway & Gellhorn, Paperboy and Stepford Wives away. Stop being a follower in your coverage, and be a leader --- it's a fine, insightful film about what went down in Monaco.

  • Irate Customer's Wife | May 16, 2014 10:03 AM

    Anthony - Oh, dear sweet Jesus. Nothing went 'down' in Monaco.

    Please say you meant 'down' as a comforting filling in a duvet or pillow.

  • Anthony | May 15, 2014 8:38 AMReply

    I think this is BS. the film is great and just don't think the French want to appreciate it. The films blows such Kidman caca as Hemingway & Gellhorn, Paperboy and Stepford Wives away. Stop being a follower in your coverage, and be a leader --- it's a fine, insightful film about what went down in Monaco.

  • josh | May 15, 2014 7:07 AMReply

    I suppose Kidman didn't want her BFF Naomi Watts to feel left out after last years "Diana" and so went and made her own trashy, saccharine, hilariously awful biopic that had had everyone wondering for a moment that it might have awards potential...

  • Cobraverde | May 14, 2014 9:07 PMReply

    You've all got sticks up your collective arses. This article was hilarious. I now WANT to see this film. It's very true nobody sets out to make a bad movie, but this picture seems so completely misjudged on so many levels, one wonders how all it's creative decisions were reached.

  • lee | May 15, 2014 4:11 AM

    But that's my point, you're now sure the film is a joke, and you've been led to that decision by a few on line reviews. My beef is about critics strangling movies at birth, why not just present a calm judgement and have the humility to get out the way and let the movie live or die naturally. Forget GOM, take a look at cinema history, would films like Bonnie and Clyde or Night of the Hunter have had any chance of survival if they were released today?

  • Tally | May 14, 2014 6:55 PMReply

    Is this the end of biopics? I hope so.

  • Fuck This | May 14, 2014 5:30 PMReply

    I know almost nothing about this film, but just let it suck on it's own. What's the point of this cruel article?

  • Mason | May 22, 2014 12:58 AM

    From a few articles I've read, this one included, the film seems to dance the so-bad-it's-good line. I'm guessing along the ranks of Liz and Dick. It's better to enjoy the fruits of those kinds of films with others, rather than letting it suck on its own.

  • D | May 14, 2014 5:11 PMReply

    It has a whooping 0% on Rotten tomatoes right now ... but yeah I guess critics are just bad mean bullies.

  • lee | May 14, 2014 4:59 PMReply

    Come on, there's been a few fair reviews of this film, The Independent even compared it stylistically to Max Ophuls, but never mind that when the bullies smell blood and a chance to bloat. I doubt it's for a 'pinko' like me but are you film critics or playground pack animals? Such a loser mentality getting so much joy intentionally destroying a film. The medium would be far more diverse and adventurous if the gate keepers weren't such pompous pricks. Leave this kind of crap to the comments sections.

  • jack | May 14, 2014 6:21 PM

    Nice comments Lee. I believe in having criticism and that it's important, but I don't think very many of them realize how difficult it is to make a movie. No one sets out to make a bad film, and while it's fun to scoff or critically denigrate it, it can get very personal as well. To me it suggests a degree of insecurity - the highest point of claim I can make is not that I'm really in the industry, or that I contribute to creativity and culture, but I make comments about people who do.

  • guillermo | May 14, 2014 4:53 PMReply

    It is clear that Ms. Kiang is no fan of Grace of Monaco and her article is just plain boring and irritating!

  • kitcon | May 14, 2014 3:55 PMReply

    To also remind us all that while Marion Cotillard was great in La Vie en Rose, it was not a good film.

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