As becomes quickly apparent in this oddball bonbon from first time French director Régis Roinsard, there’s a good reason why speed typing is not an Olympic event. And it’s not just because the technology is obsolete. Roinsard labors mightily to eke laughs and excitement out of ’50s secretaries in Technicolor dresses, towering heels, and awkward hairdos hammering away at keyboards, with limited success.
Similarly, he tries to resuscitate the kind of fluffy Technicolor antics that thrived back in the day of Rock Hudson and Doris Day. Perhaps he’s trying to do for ’50s Hollywood romantic comedies what the Oscar-winning “The Artist” did for silent movies. But despite hard-working performances and the occasional sexual frisson from ingénue Déborah François (a kind of French Renée Zellweger) and seductive Romain Duris (who looks like Tom Hanks by way of Montgomery Clift), “Populaire” hits mostly wrong keys.