“Mama Weed” (“La daronne”)
Metacritic (6/10), Rotten Tomatoes (***)
While this French crime drama-comedy serves up a modest share of chuckles and action sequences, its lack of defined motivations and its overpacked story threads tend to water down what could have been a better film had it incorporated an overall sense of greater clarity. When an underpaid French-Arabic police translator working for the Paris narco squad intercepts an undercover message involving the son of a friend, she tries to intervene to shield him while simultaneously cashing in for herself on privileged (and highly lucrative) information, launching a deluge of hot pursuit against her on multiple fronts. Director Jean-Paul Salomé’s uneven offering benefits tremendously from the superb performance by the ever-reliable Isabelle Huppert, despite the fact that this vehicle is somewhat beneath her considerable talents. And, when the laughs work, they’re genuinely funny, even if they come somewhat few and far between. But, despite these strengths, some judicious overall tidying up is required to make this one work more effectively.