Allow me to explain: Single mom Katie (Alexandra Lamy) meets Paco (Sergi López, “Pan’s Labyrinth”) at the factory where they both work. They share a cigarette, then a bathroom stall and, thus, bodily fluids. From this one-break stand, Katie gets pregnant and, presumably because she and Paco work with chemicals, the resulting son, whom they name Ricky, soon sprouts lumps on his back, which later turn into full-fledged wings. Dr. Spock never covered that one — not even in the revised editions.
Paco ditches, leaving Katie to vie heavily for cinema's Worst Mother Ever award. You'll hate her character at nearly every turn; if not for stranding her other child (Mélusine Mayance) at school, it's for leaving Ricky alone, and especially for ... well, can’t quite spill that one, although the prologue makes clear the French film isn’t out to tickle ribs and warm hearts.
That’s too bad, because “Ricky” is sold as a charming fantasy, perhaps even one for the whole family. While my tween daughter enjoyed it — her first film she had to read — it carries brief nudity, a burst of strong language and a pallor of misery. Ozon wants to have it both — or thrice — ways, gunning for drama, comedy and whimsy, when only one can win out. The former does, and it’s depressing.
If there’s a saving grace, it’s Mayance, that rare child actor who actually acts, and free of pretension. —Rod Lott