‘Mama Weed’ Review: Huppert Slings Hash

The police captain, on a date with a translator in his division, tries to go with her with an commentary about her “paradoxical” nature. She appears so small and fragile, and but she possesses such extraordinary self-confidence!

The poor man, whose title is Philippe, doesn’t notice who he’s speaking to. Not within the fictional universe of “Mama Weed,” during which the translator, Patience Portefeux, seems to be one thing of a prison mastermind. And actually not on the planet that the remainder of us inhabit. Patience is performed by Isabelle Huppert, who has that paradox printed on her enterprise card. Philippe’s perception is so laughably apparent that it indicts the director, Jean-Paul Salomé, for lack of creativeness.

The checklist of fees in opposition to this watery café au lait of a criminal offense caper is in depth — wearisome ethnic stereotypes, cop-movie clichés, awkward pacing, a labored plot — however the chief transgression is that it wastes the time and expertise of one of many supreme display actors of our time. Huppert’s craft and power are faultless (Hippolyte Girardot, who performs Philippe, is fairly good too), however the script and the path undermine her at each flip.

Patience, the kid of a Jewish mom (Liliane Rovère, the beloved Arlette of “Call My Agent”) and a long-gone Algerian father, works for the Paris police translating wiretaps and interrogations of Arabic-speaking topics. A giant cargo of cannabis is making its manner from Morocco, and when she learns that her mom’s caretaker (Farida Ouchani) has a son who’s concerned within the trafficking, she makes use of her linguistic abilities and innate shrewdness to divert the cargo and save the younger man from severe jail time.

In sudden possession of 700 kilos of contraband, Patience decides to unload it. A widow with two daughters, fixed cash worries and a obscure underworld household historical past in addition to connections to legislation enforcement, she has each the motive and the sources to develop into, a minimum of briefly, a drug kingpin — or queenpin, because the case could also be.

She adopts the persona of an impatient, entrepreneurial North African matriarch — Mama Weed (“la daronne” in French) — placing on a hijab, garish jewellery and heavy lipstick and enlisting the companies of Scotch (Rachid Guellaz) and Chocapic (Mourad Boudaoud), a pair of bumbling small-timers. She additionally strikes up an alliance with Madame Fo (Jade Nadja Nguyen), the all-seeing, criminal-minded matriarch of the residence block the place Patience is nearly the one non-Chinese resident.

As the rightful homeowners of the hash shut in, together with Philippe and his colleagues, the film accelerates concurrently towards melodrama, farce and shoot-em-up with out arriving wherever attention-grabbing. There are loads of so-so motion pictures that Huppert redeems along with her presence, however that is only a unhealthy one which she occurs to be in.

Mama Weed
Not rated. In French, Arabic and Yiddish, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes. In theaters.