It’s hard to know how the ROC will react to “French Immersion,” a new comedy from the makers of “Bon Cop, Bad Cop.” ROC, if you don’t know, is Rest of Canada, a term the small town French characters in the film use to describe any part of the country that doesn’t fall within Quebec’s borders.
“French Immersion” sees a disparate group of five English speakers—a chef (Jacob Tierney), a flight attendant (Olunike Adeliyi), a mailman (Fred Ewanuick), a firefighter (Martha Burns) and a Member of Parliament (Gavin Crawford)—enroll at a language camp in a remote town to learn French and have a Quebecois experience. That means no English, not even “American Idol” on TV. One by one they become immersed not only in French culture but in the crazy goings on in this deceptively quiet town.
“French Immersion” is a willfully silly movie about a subject that lies at the very center of Canadian culture. It’s an equal opportunity bilingual comedy which gently, but not so subtly, pokes fun at both sides of the language issue.
It plays like a silly sitcom and like a sitcom if you scratch the surface there’s not much underneath. Despite tackling one of the country’s most divisive topics it doesn’t add much to the language debate other than a few one liners like “I love Canada, but I hate the English.”