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Smoking Causes Coughing                review by Bobby Blakey

In 2010 director Quentin Dupieux unleashed his bizarre masterpiece Rubber. It is strange and has no reason that it should work, but it does and I love it. Since then his films have continued to be creative, strange and out there that no doubt are an acquired taste including Wrong Cops and Mandibles. Now he is taking on the superhero genre in his latest film Smoking Causes Coughing starring Gilles Lellouche, Anaïs Demoustier, Vincent Lacoste, Jean-Pascal Zadi, and Oulaya Amamra. Could his unique strange style bring something fun and fresh to the genre or will it get caught up in its own smoke?


Smoking Causes Coughing follows the misadventures of a team of five superheroes known as the Tobacco Force - Benzene, Nicotine, Methanol, Mercury, and Ammonia. After a devastating battle against a diabolical giant turtle, the Tobacco Force is sent on a mandatory week-long retreat to strengthen their decaying group cohesion. Their sojourn goes wonderfully well until Lézardin, Emperor of Evil, decides to annihilate planet Earth.


Much like his previous films this one is all kinds of 1uirky and weird and I was thoroughly entertained. The superhero element takes its cues from the Power Ranger world with an even more silly spin on the genre and yet their powers and message make total sense. It almost serves as an anti-smoking campaign as well, but makes sure to not get to preachy on the subject and instead let the weirdness prevail.


Right out the gate we are entertained seeing the Tobacco Force in action complete with a man in rubber suit silly creature. This gives us the information we need on their powers and mission to saving Earth before it changes tone altogether into a strange direction for the film. In usual Dupieux fashion this film is something more than just a superhero flick and instead just a strange journey to these characters while they sit around waiting for their next

mission. Most of the film is them telling stories to scare each other which are even more crazy and strange, but a load of fun.


As it weaves its bizarre tale we are given glimpses of numerous stories that bring the bloody horror and strange comedy together in the truly absurd. This is just killing time as we lead towards the real mission they are awaiting orders for that may never come and their longing for different things in their lives. This team is connected and clearly looking to carve their own path for the future while being stuck in this long term hiatus with their own thoughts and a suicidal robot.


There is just something strange, simple and engaging about this story and the way Dupieux crafts a story. There are numerous moments and questions unanswered on purpose often leaving you confused, but that seems to be what he relishes in. His entire resume is built on films like this and this one is no different. It is an acquired taste and you will either like the film or likely hate it, but there is no denying it stands on its own as a piece of art like on Dupieux can create.  


Decide for yourself and check out Smoking Causes Coughing available now On Demand from Magnet Releasing.

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