When a matriarch dies, her family converges on the estate to show both their grief and their greed. Everyone, from a brother who has lost his job as a reporter for Le Monde to a lesbian grandchild who ties her girlfriend nude to the bedpost, brings home some baggage. The trouble with Louis Malle’s fitfully amusing generational comedy, however, is that its people are a tad dull and their problems not developed very dramatically.
May Fools is set during the Paris student riots of 1968. Reportage of the political events on the radio mix with the family’s frenetic pre-funeral activities and build to a farcical climax: Everyone mistakenly thinks a full-blown revolution has occurred and flees into the nearby hills for a long, miserable, rain-soaked night. This material needs a lot more malice than Malle brings to it. One does not suffer these fools gladly. C