An exploded grandfather clock of a movie, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's intricately antic Micmacs hurls gears, gizmos, and other trash-heap objets d'art at the audience. It's aggressively, whimsically retro, like a heaping second helping of his 1992 black comedy Delicatessen. Instead of the enchanted fairyland of his smash hit Amilie, Jeunet burrows into the Parisian scrap-yard lair of the Micmacs, a band of outcasts without superpowers but ingenious uses for old junk. Movie-quoting video-store clerk Bazil (Dany Boon) joins them after a nasty encounter with a bullet; that, plus his father's prior landmine mishap, has him vowing revenge on two rival arms manufacturers. Quicker than you can say "Yojimbo," the Micmacs spring into action. Magnets, alarm clocks, string, and jars of wasps are the Micmacs' preferred weaponry -- the team embodies Jeunet's love of the handmade and the improvised, which he then pits against the cold technology of the munitioners. (Though, in one concession to our times, Jeunet does allow the Micmacs to use YouTube.) Allusions are made to recent European arms deals in the Balkans and Afghanistan, but Micmacs is more fantasia than violent revenge tale. And its pleasing curlicues -- like a bouquet of spoons -- linger long after the predictable outcome.
June 4-10, 2010