Strand Releasing
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, left, and Gilbert Melki star in "Cote d'Azur."
COTE D'AZUR (CRUSTACES ET COQUILLAGES) — * 1/2 — Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Gilbert Melki, Romain Torres; in French, with English subtitles; not rated, probable R (sex, vulgarity, profanity, nudity, brief drugs, violence).

The story line for "Cote d'Azur (Crustaces et Coquillages)" is so ridiculous that it would make the perfect comedy — the European model of comedy at least.

Instead, however, this French import's attempts at humor and social commentary are strained, quickly becoming insufferable.

And if anything, the film is proof that a European sex comedy can be just as boring as your run-of-the-mill comedy if the writing isn't up to snuff.

"Cote d'Azur" follows the members of the Biancheri family, which is vacationing at a cottage near the Mediterranean Sea. Longtime couple Beatrix (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) and Marc (Gilbert Melki) have become preoccupied with the sex life of their teenage son, Charly (Romain Torres).

They suspect he's gay, especially after he invites his best friend, Martin (Edouard Collin), to stay with them for the summer. However, while Martin is out of the closet, Charly isn't — instead, he's just trying to provoke his parents.

But as it turns out, they have some real secrets of their own — Beatrix has a lover on the side, while Marc's is a real bombshell that threatens to tear the entire family apart.

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Among the film's bigger problems is that co-screenwriters/co-directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau (1997's "Jeanne and the Perfect Guy") can't seem to settle on a tone. While most of the film is a breezy comedy, it also features some heavy drama and a pair of clinker musical numbers that prove this cast is not cut out for song-and-dance routines.

Also, the film's messages about open love and acceptance come off as preachy, especially since most of them are delivered by Bruni-Tedeschi's hypocritical and rather unlikable wife and mother character.

"Cote d'Azur (Crustaces et Coquillages)" is not rated but would probably receive an R for simulated sex and other sexual contact (both straight and gay), sexual explicit talk and use of other suggestive language and slang terms, scattered use of strong sexual profanity, male and female nudity, some brief drug content (marijuana use), and some brief violence (fisticuffs). Running time: 92 minutes.