michel gondry

FILM REVIEW: Teens & tiny cars in “Microbe & Gasoline”

French director Michel Gondry's latest finds him in his low-key, moderately whimsical mode rather than overdosing on twee.

French director Michel Gondry is, at least sometimes, his own worst enemy. Ever since graduating from music videos to feature films with the Charlie Kaufman-scripted “Human Nature” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” he’s been strongly identified with a certain twee, handmade aesthetic.

And yet, when he’s given full reign to these cellophane-and-balsa-wood constructions, the results have been uneven, to say the least. “Be Kind Rewind,” “The Science of Sleep,” and even the obligatory, misbegotten Hollywood foray “The Green Hornet” each had their moments, but Gondry’s penchant for whimsical production design and cheeky conceits feels crepe-paper thin without the intellectual penetration that Kaufman brings to the table.