Review En Place, season 1: blank vote

In placea logical sequel to Tout Simplement Noir, fails everything that Jean-Pascal Zadi’s first film had brilliantly achieved.

In Place is the logical continuity of Simply Blackwhere the first feature film by Jean-Pascal Zadi and John Wax showed on its poster the actor, director and screenwriter as President of the Republic. But now, between the series Craignos and its sequel Downright Craignos for France TV, his collaborations with Quentin Dupieux (Smoking makes you cough), Michel Hazanavicius (Cut!) and the Boukherma brothers (Year of the Shark), Jean-Pascal Zadi seems to have lost his fervor, perhaps too busy to explore the many interesting tracks of En Place, here filled with a surprisingly clumsy writing.

In accelerated march

In place therefore follows Stéphane, a neighborhood leader who is exhausted by the budget cuts reserved for his activities. A few weeks before the presidential election, he decides to accost the mayor of his city in front of the television cameras, then big favorite, to tell him his four truths. Magic of the polls, here he is propelled new favorite candidate of the French, and the race for his presidential election is then launched. And in its first episodes, the series of Jean-Pascal Zadi and François Uzan reiterates all the sympathy operated in Simply Black : the characters are funny, the dialogues hilarious and the political message interesting. But now, in six episodes of just over thirty minutes, everything is going too fast.

© Netflix

When En Place reaches halfway through its proposal, everything begins to run out of steam dangerously, and François Uzan’s writing for two sometimes lacks finesse (Family Business) thus seems to fill with great reinforcements of jokes and sluggish situations a series which then goes freewheeling. Politics thus gives way to a parade of absurd situations treated overhand where only the formidable cast floats, which can still count on Benoît Poelvoorde, Marina Foïs, Fadily Camara, Fary, Éric Judor and Panayotis Pascot. And if the latter seem to have to camp fictional characters nevertheless very real (with in mind the obvious Corinne Douanier in Sandrine Rousseau), nothing comes to enhance their score but umpteenth clichés on the political world.

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En Place then sacrifices what made the salt of Simply Black on the altar of a sluggish parody at high speed. If Jean-Pascal Zadi’s first feature film brilliantly combined humorous sketches with hilarious guests (we will long remember the scene between Fabrice Éboué and Lucien Jean-Baptiste) and burning political background (with the recent death of George Floyd, between others), this new proposal is the exact opposite. Aligning jokes on the testicles, stretched more than reason, and real social background treated without any seriousness, one cannot take affection for what looks more like a perpetual improvisation written in a hurry rather than the series combining politics and comedy promised.

Critic In Place
© Netflix

Not really knowing what to do with its political subtext, which sends a whole corrupt right to the pillory to sanctify the left, but ultimately only using it as a scriptwriting facility supported for a possible second season, En Place leaves its ballot boxes desperately empty . If there was so much to say, moreover in this period of pension reform still so unfair for a huge part of society, Jean-Pascal Zadi’s series ultimately represents no one but a clumsy schoolboy joke unnecessarily stretched over six episodes, which even of a minimal duration, leaves the impression of a completely blank vote.

En Place is currently on Netflix.



Blank Vote

En Place betrays all that Simply Black was about by sacrificing both scathing humor and searing political context for crude and forceful parody. Seemingly written in haste and filling its lack of messages with a parade of adventures and jokes as absurd as they are hackneyed, the series by Jean-Pascal Zadi and François Uzan leaves the impression of a desperately blank vote.

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Review En Place, season 1: blank vote