Sometimes, good guys do win — especially when they’ve got nothing to lose. In Micmacs, Jean-Pierre Jeunet brings his wry wit to the story of a rag-tag bunch who plot to take down the world’s biggest arms dealers. Arguably, warlords, land mines and orphans are no laughing matters. But the French director — who won Americans over with Amélie in 2001 — finds warmth in even the most tragic of events: a bullet to the head frees a man from drudgery, while homelessness means good times complete with homemade waffles and a few laughs.
Getting on board with the movie’s wink-wink sensibility isn’t instant. Jeunet’s world is one in which every quirk (obsessive calculations!) and every backstory (post-abuse contortion) is less cause for concern than it is for celebration — and that’s the magic. Sure, it’s worrisome when our hero Bazil (Dany Boon) gets so stressed out that his face quivers, but it’s all OK when he slaps his forehead and snaps out of it. Even scarier is when his sweetheart might get shot by revolutionaries, but her bright idea saves the day. Micmacs is French, after all, and there’s no danger or loss that can’t be solved with a little ingenuity — and, of course, a kiss.