L’Iceberg: Belgium—Again Proven the Least Amusing of Benelux Countries

If the sight gag is dead, this excruciatingly precious Belgian comedy is less a resurrection than an autopsy. Made by a troupe of actors with a background in pantomime and circus performance, it sounds delightful on paper: a largely wordless, absurdist farce about a fast-food manager (Fiona Gordon) who sets sail for a chilly adventure with a mute sea captain after she gets locked overnight in a freezer—and her robotic family doesn't notice she's gone. The performers (especially Dominique Abel, who has a face like pulled taffy, as the husband) have the right pipe-cleaner look for physical comedy; the gag setups, from a scarf caught in the freezer door to fun with goofy back-projection screens, would have Buster Keaton doing a saber dance on banana peels. But there's nothing eruptive or disruptive about the slapstick: Every color-drenched neat-freak shot is as fussily framed as a New Yorker cartoon—Tati by way of Wes Anderson—and the result packs all the hilarity of a museum installation on "The Semiotics of Silent Comedy." You'll be in stitches if your definition of boffo buffoonery is Mummenschanz.

 
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