For better or worse, the French release of 'Poupoupidou' is now the more straight forward, English-subtitled 'Nobody Else But You'. I assume the reasoning behind this wasn't artistic. What matters most is that this Marilyn Monroe-obsessed, James Ellroy-inspired noir is surprisingly comedic and entertaining.
The story follows crime writer David Marceau, deftly played here by Jean-Paul Rouve, as he seeks inspiration for his next novel. David finds himself in the small French town of Mouthe, otherwise known as "Little Siberia" for its weather and presumably, remoteness. His arrival co-incides with the death of Mouthe's most famous resident, Candice LeCoeur (Sophie Quinton), and the mysterious circumstances of her death provide him with ample material for his new book.
The film successfully juxtaposes the noir-like whodunnit of Candice's apparent murder while also delivering frequent moments of hilarity. Much of the comedy comes from the anachronisms of the local community - from the DJ turntable setup in the local church to the near-naked teen, halfway up a tree, screaming about his desire for a woman to satisfy his needs. At times, 'Nobody Else But You' feels a bit like a post-modern 'Murder She Wrote'.
The obsession with Marilyn Monroe is arguably the film's downfall. Candice and David are obsessed with Monroe in different ways but their obsession consumes the film itself - the narrative succumbing to mirroring Monroe's real-life events all too closely. It's a creative decision that often removes the viewer from the film rather than embedding them in the otherwise iconic setting and engaging story.
Nonetheless, 'Nobody Else But You' isn't ultimately defined by its obsession with Marilyn Monroe. Director Gerald Hustache-Mathieu's pulpy charm offensive throughout the film fade the contrivances into the background, leaving its wit and intrigue always at the forefront.
'Nobody Else But You' is screening at the 55th BFI London Film Festival 2011.