Imagine Memento with more sex or 50 First Dates with fewer puke gags, and you've got Novo, another exploration of short-term memory loss. Here our amnesiac hero is Graham (Eduardo Noriega), a photocopy clerk whose mind is so sieve-like that he can't even recognise his wife, child or best friend. Others take advantage of this affliction, like his oversexed boss Sabine (Nathalie Richard) and new temp Irene (Anna Mouglalis). Unfortunately, you might also struggle to remember this movie the morning after.
Part of the problem is that it's impossible to forget Memento, especially when Graham's body becomes a human notepad. But Novo lacks the taut ingenuity of Christopher Nolan's film, favouring a loose, rambling structure that reflects Graham's mixed-up mental state but doesn't hold a firm grip on the viewer. It's also short on emotional punch which, for all its flaws (gross-out idiocy, Rob Schneider), 50 First Dates landed perfectly. With its modish use of fast-motion and ridiculously good-looking cast (including Spanglish star Paz Vega in an underdeveloped role), this often seems more like a high-class perfume ad than a study of love and identity.
"THE EROTICISM IS PLAYFUL AND PALATABLE"
That said, it's miles more engaging than co-writer Christophe Honoré's Ma Mère, which also dealt in blurred morality and sexual candour. Despite some bizarre business involving a detached tooth, the eroticism here is far more playful and palatable. And it's not hard to be charmed by lead actor Noriega (The Devil's Backbone), whose virile performance is sure to win him plenty of admirers.
In French with English subtitles.