Home Movies An “Artist” Smear Fails: No “Scandal,” Says French Billboard Company

UPDATE: There were exactly two complaints about billboard ads for the French film “Les Infideles” according to Noemi Fuento of JC Decaux, the international billboard company. Fuento laughed when we discussed the story. “It’s not a scandal,” she said. “We’re changing the ads tomorrow. But it’s no big deal.” She added: “We are all very proud of “The Artist and Jean DuJardin.”

EARLIER: Well, it wouldn’t be the last leg of  the Oscar season without an another attempted “smear” aimed at front runner “The Artist.” Now The Hollywood Reporter has been convinced that “Artist” star Jean DuJardin is hurting his Oscar chances by appearing in “provocative” ads for a new French movie called “Les Infideles.” As usual, THR–the unsophisticated stepchild of US Weekly–has missed the point. DuJardin appears in a couple of very French, very “Saturday Night Live”-Esquire magazine parody ads for the movie. Trust me, there is no “French outrage.” A friend of mine at Paris Match magazine didn’t even know what was going on until I emailed her, and then laughed when she heard about it. The ads are tame. The smirk on DuJardin’s face in the ads is considered ironic–a wink at the audience– nothing more than Steve Carell or Ryan Reynolds would do here for a tame sex comedy. Plus, in France, believe me, there is very little outrage over anything mildly sexual. Someone is stoking this fire (I wonder who could it be.) Sacre bleu? What’s next? Stories of Uggie the Dog leaving croissant crumbs on the sidewalk? “The Artist” is a little bit of genius, DuJardin’s Screen Actors Guild Award is evidence that American actors “get” his tongue in cheek performance. Mon dieu! PS The “offending” ads are being changed. And nothing, I am assured, has been “censured.” Let’s get a grip. This was considered “provocative” 20 plus years ago:

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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