Filmmaker Quentin Dupieux is undoubtedly a unique voice in French cinema. The wild mind behind Rubber, Wrong, and Wrong Cops is known and admired for his surreal and absurd comedy. His sense of humor and filmmaking style is not for everyone, but for those who love Dupieux’s twisted and subversive sensibilities, he has a brand new treat for you! On the surface of things, Smoking Causes Coughing appears to take on martial arts, avengers programs such as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, or any of the program’s Japanese inspirations. However, audiences should expect the unexpected when it comes to Quentin Dupieux.
The story revolves around a superhero team called the Tobacco Force, whose team members (Gilles Lellouche, Vincent Lacoste, Anaïs Demoustier, Jean-Pascal Zadi, and Oulaya Amamra) utilize the poisonous chemicals found in tobacco products to defeat their villainous enemies. After scoring another victory for the good guys, the team gets sent on retreat to reinforce the bonds of teamwork to prepare for the ultimate threat to the universe–Lézardin (Benoît Poelvoorde). The Tobacco Force will have to prime themselves for the worse, as Lézardin’s plans involve the destruction of Earth.
I would like to not reveal too much about this movie. I went into this film blind and had an absolute blast because of it. Dupieux has his share of curve balls and other tricks up his sleeve, and these hilarious moments are best enjoyed as surprises. Dupieux has a natural gift for the comedically absurd and manages to land his jokes and gags mostly superbly. That is not to say that every single trick sticks the landing, but the movie’s overall impact proves that it works mostly well. Leave it to the mad filmmaker to take what seems like a superhero spoof and turn it into so much more than that.
Dupieux and his cast crew have scored another winner with Smoking Causes Coughing. I know this movie will get little to no attention from mainstream audiences, but I respect Dupieux for being defiant in his quest for artistic expression. It is a joy to see filmmakers with unique voices remain undaunted in an otherwise homogenous cinema market.