Microbe & Gasoline | Chicago Reader

Microbe & Gasoline

With an engine, an auto frame, and some discarded lumber, two pubescent misfits in Versailles construct a ramshackle motor home and set off for a street-illegal tour de France. The crate-on-wheels gimmick is a typically winsome fantasy from writer-director Michel Gondry, and the buddy story between diminutive Microbe (Ange Dargent) and nascent biker Gasoline (Théophile Baquet) sometimes recalls his earlier trash-for-treasure comedy Be Kind Rewind (2008). But that film was overconceived and undercharacterized, whereas this one is unerringly genuine, with a true sense of adolescent reasoning. ("[She] loves me too much," Microbe says of his mother. "I feel sorry for her.") The boys' friendship is based on their shared love of gadgetry, for which they have a knack, and curiosity about the opposite sex, for which they have none; once they develop one, Gondry implies in a poignant final shot, they won't need each other quite as much. With Audrey Tautou. In French with subtitles.

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