Alphonse 2023 / A twisty sex dramedy whose parts are better than the whole


The selling point of the series Alphonse, apart from raunch and romance, is that it gets its talented lead Jean Dujardin to transform into a different character each time he meets with a different client. Sometimes, he’s a World War II soldier, other times, he’s part of the academic elite. Always, he’s the object of fantasy of Parisian women. His real self, however, the titular Alphonse, is a sad sack going through a midlife crisis. On paper, this sounds like a recipe for pure fun: a lost guy tries out different masks and costumes until he discovers his true self in the process. The execution, however, feels wonky and uneven, as if the series is unable to balance all the things it tries to be. To be clear, Dujardin is excellent as the chameleonic Alphonse and Charlotte Gainsbourg is arresting as his mercurial wife Margot. But there’s a murkiness and vagueness to the overall style, tone, and direction of the series that leaves you wanting more. It’s okay, but there’s a sense that it could’ve been great if it tighten its screws a bit more.

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