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Review: French Canadian ‘Slut in a Good Way’ is high jinks with a message, eventually

Marguerite Bouchard in a scene from “Slut in a Good Way.” Credit: Comedy Dynamics
Marguerite Bouchard in the film “Slut in a Good Way.”
(Comedy Dynamics)

Sophie Lorain directs a script by Catherine Léger for “Slut in a Good Way,” a saucy and sharp exploration of teen sexual politics. With black-and-white cinematography set in a large Canadian big box toy store, the film plays out like a Quebecois “Clerks” with a distinctly female point of view.

As the saying goes, the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else, and young Charlotte (Marguerite Bouchard) takes this to heart, after her boyfriend Sam (Alexandre Cabana) comes out to her as gay. She and her two pals take a break from bong rips and playground drinking to peruse the local Jouets Depot, where they find the selection of attractive young men pleasing, and promptly acquire jobs.

“Slut in a Good Way” places its sociological microscope over the microcosm of the Jouets Depot, where the sex-loving Charlotte works her way through the male staff. It’s all casual, lighthearted fun until everyone else and their judgments get involved. Slut-shamed and chastened for her behavior, Charlotte convinces the group to agree to an abstinence pact, which plays out about the way you might expect for a group of young, single co-workers. It’s like “Lord of the Flies” but with sex, and Charlotte’s footloose and fancy-free ways don’t conform to the social norms.

Though the commentary is incisive, the film’s loose structure often leaves the viewer feeling adrift watching a bunch of beautiful teens bicker and get busy. But if you can stick around long enough, “Slut in a Good Way” pulls through with the love story and the message, to boot.

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‘Slut in a Good Way’

In French with English subtitles

Rated: R, for sexual content, drug use, drinking and language — all involving teens.

Running time: 1 hour 29 minutes

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Playing: Starts March 29, Laemmle Royal, West L.A.; Laemmle Glendale; Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena

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