Gaston Lagaffe (2018) [Fantasia Fest 2018]

A young inventor is hired to work for Aupetitcoin, a company that specializes in rehabbing failed products to make them high sellers. While there, he seems lazy yet creative and creative in his laziness, leading to problem after problem, mostly for other people.

Based on the comics by Andre Franquin, Gaston Lagaffe is a fun live-action adaptation of familiar characters and familiar situations to regular and not so regular readers of the Gaston Lagaffe misadventures. For those not fluent or familiar, the name Lagaffe translates to TheBlunder, or as he has been known to some Gomer Goof. The film is written by Pierre-Francois Martin-Laval and Mathias Gavarry with Martin-Laval directing and co-starring as Lagaffe’s long-suffering boss Prunelle. The film they create together is a fun, family-friendly, fairly faithful adaptation of the comics. It keeps the spirit of what this reviewer remembers reading growing up and it’s marvelous to watch. It’s an easy watch with some good values peppered throughout the non-sense. In a way, the film is pure non-sense and that makes complete sense. It’s Gaston being Gaston, Gaston being given the space to be Gaston, something the writing and directing establish entertainingly well.

Playing the lead character and setting the tone for the entire film is actor Theo Fernandez who transforms into Gaston, giving him life and a larger than life personality. His performance here is on point and feels like it’s just about perfect for a current day version of the beloved character. His attitude, nonchalance, and his complete chill work with the character and the story, giving the lead that the cast needs in going over the absurd edge at times. Playing his boss Prunelle is writer/director Pierre-Francois Martin-Laval who is a bit more different from the source material boss, but a good adaptation with changes that are easily acceptable. His performance shows the right amount of annoyance and exasperation. Playing the character some will be waiting to see, the love interest of Gaston, the woman who centers him, Mademoiselle Jeanne is actress Alison Wheeler who has the right attitude and the right way of modernizing the character. She’s charming and just ditzy enough. She’s adorable and a good character that will make some want to see much more of her in a potential sequel to this. In the non-human characters that could not be avoided category, Le Chat (The Cat) and La Mouette (The Seagull) are well represented here and a fun throwback for fans of the comics. They mostly cause mayhem and that’s how they are liked.

Another important aspect of the film that is thankfully well-done and keeps with the comics’ look is the production design by Franck Schwarz. His work here keeps the mood and looks of the comics and creates a modern version of Gaston’s workplace, his inventions, and all other aspects of the film. The work is colorful and in your face a bit, but that is needed here to work in the world of Gaston. Adding to this look is the cinematography by Regis Blondeau and the film editing by Thibaut Demade. The images created by Blondeau fit the story, the style, and the character. It’s there, clear, obvious, and fun. The editing adds an energy to things even when Gaston is taking one of his infamous naps.

Gaston Lagaffe, the film, is a greatly fun adaptation of the comics and a perfect way to bring the beloved character to the screen. It’s not a particularly deep film, but it has some good values and is filled with entertainment. Yes, some of it is dumb, but it is Gaston, the biggest living blunder in waiting. This film is something the whole family can enjoy, the kids will love the humor and the parents will love the throwback to their Gaston, Mademoiselle Jeanne, Le Chat, La Mouette, and all the ridiculous inventions, including a particular musical instrument making an appearance.

Fantasia 2018 runs from July 12th to August 2nd, 2018.