Bye Bye Morons — Cutting French satire with a gentle touch

Nicolas Marie, Virginie Efira and Albert Dupontel in Bye Bye Morons
Nicolas Marie, Virginie Efira and Albert Dupontel in the gentle but satirical French comedy, Bye Bye Morons

Bye Bye Morons (Adieu Les Cons)
Written and directed by Albert Dupontel
Starring Albert Dupontel, Virginie Efira, Nicolas Marie
Showing nationally as part of the Alliance Française French Film Festival

Bye Bye Morons is an endearing comedy with enough sympathetic characters and charm to sweeten the very dark humour and cutting social satire at its core.

The basic plot is of a woman wanting to reunite with the child she gave up for adoption at age 15. Through a series of hilarious mishaps she teams up with a pair of thoroughly alienated workers and they are pursued by cops through Paris.

Scattered throughout are scathing critiques of the French police habit of blinding demonstrators with flash balls, the destruction of historical quarters of Paris, the hopelessness of French government bureaucracy and modern, digitised reality.

The pace never lets up and the gags keep coming but the overall humane tone keeps the social commentary delicate.

Differences between French and Australian language use show up in the translation of the film’s title. “Les cons” certainly doesn’t mean “morons”, that would be “crétins”.

“Les cons” literally means “cunts”, a word that is freely used in mainstream French culture. A direct translation would have made for some arresting advertising on the sides of Australian buses.