Two Tickets to Greece review – insufferable women-on-holiday comedy is no Shirley Valentine

Two Tickets to Greece review – insufferable women-on-holiday comedy is no Shirley Valentine

Marc Fitoussi, whose directing credits include work on the French TV hit Call My Agent!, has created this excruciatingly sugary French comedy of female friendship in a vacation paradise. It’s a one-note, one-joke, non-Mamma-Mia! the non-musical, with three lead performances that are borderline insufferable.

Olivia Côte plays Blandine, a straitlaced, sobersided woman whose life is miserable; she’s divorced from a man who is now marrying someone half his age and her 20-year-old son is moving out. But then she reconnects with an old schoolfriend, the wild and irrepressible Magalie (Laure Calamy) who suggests they do something they once dreamed of as kids: visit the Greek island of Amorgos, because it was featured in Luc Besson’s The Big Blue, their favourite film from those days. So off they go, uptight Blandine and wacky, jokey Magalie; the latter reveals herself to be a bit of a freeloader and scam artist. In another type of film, Blandine’s aghast realisation of her childhood pal’s behaviour might be the basis of a thriller. But here it is just supposed to be the pretext for wacky, chaotic fun.

In fact, there is no development at all in these two characters individually or in their relationship with each other; instead of any of that, Fitoussi throws in a third character halfway through when the pair wind up in Mykonos. This is the elegantly bohemian and carefree Bijou (Kristin Scott Thomas), who shows up riding a quad bike and she is as life-affirming and careless of bourgeois scruples as Magalie – and Thomas’s character is perhaps the most implausible and unbearable of all.

Inevitably, of course, Blandine has to lighten up but this is managed in the most perfunctory and uninteresting way and a key revelation about Magalie’s own past is indirect and unsatisfying. Calamy gives it everything she’s got but this film is fundamentally heavy-handed.