Director: Robert Ménard
This film is one of the biggest moneymakers in the history of Quebec cinema. It’s a comedy that ain’t very sophisticated or anything, but I still think that it’s got something special. I think I found it more interesting as a depiction of what goes on in certain bars than I found it entertaining as a comedy. The film obviously plays for laughs and it is indeed quite funny sometimes, but I kinda felt that the filmmakers were trying to criticize certain things, and there’s a certain poignancy in the way the film seems to try to show what hell it can be to be horny. But maybe I’m just reaching, I dunno. Nonetheless, one thing for sure is that Michel Cote’s performance is a tour de force. He plays all four of the leads, and he’s so good at getting under each character’s skin that you can forget that they’re all the same person. The concept of the film is to go back and forth between the life of four thirtysomething guys looking to score.
First there’s Gérard, a dumb fatass with a mustache who works in a garage. He’s married with children, but he still likes to go to cheesy hotel bars at night and try to seduce women back to his room for an easy lay. This character’s an asshole, but at least he’s having fun and he doesn’t think he’s God’s gift to women, unlike Jean-Jacques. The guy’s one conceited snobbish prick who speaks in a phony sophisticated accent but has nothing to say, drinks imported beers and try to look mysterious to women but doesn’t even have a clue how to handle them. There’s still worse than him, like the pimple-faced, greasy haired Serge, a total loser who goes out with toilet paper on his face because he cut himself while shaving! He’s a timid little guy who really doesn’t have confidence in himself, and who’s so unaware that he visits punk bars and gay nightclubs, where he doesn’t really belong. As for coke-snorting, party-loving, dim-witted rocker Patrice, you wouldn’t want to hang with him, but compared to the three other jackasses, he’s not that bad.
So that’s Cruising Bar, an enjoyable look at how desperate men can be to get laid. The film’s not very subtle, not always funny, badly directed and scored, but it still is somehow insightful and Michel Cote’s metamorphose from one character to another is fascinating.