Dirty Cops (L'amour est une fête)

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
Dirty Cops (L'amour est une fête) Movie Poster Image
Porn industry dramedy has tons of sex, nudity, drugs.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 118 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Promiscuity. Drug use. Money laundering. Focus on pornography.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters do everything to excess, including drinking, taking drugs, and having sex. Caprice enters the porn industry in an attempt to become a mainstream actress. Serge regularly cheats on his wife and has little interest in his family. Franck becomes heavily involved in drugs. All of that said, most of the characters are determined to make the best porn film they can.


A sex shop/strip club is attacked by masked assailants with mallets -- mirrors are smashed, and a man is kicked repeatedly on the floor. A gun is fired several times indoors by a character who's high on cocaine.


Explicit sex throughout. Full-frontal nudity. Sex toys. Oral sex. Masturbation. Group sex. Two instances in which a character is assumed to ejaculate over another. In one scene, a child is present while a porn scene is filmed. Strippers. Candid discussions about sex. Lingering shots of breasts and buttocks. Kissing.


Strong language throughout. Includes variants of "f--k," "crap," "s--t," "ass," "c--k," "butthole," "a--hole," "bitch," "damn," "hell," "p---y," "balls," "jerk off," and "bastard." Character calls another a "f-g."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many examples of drug use, including cocaine and weed. One character's use could be classified as addiction. Two characters talk about buying acid. Many characters smoke. Characters regularly drink to excess, including champagne and scotch. Characters suffer hangovers; in one scene, a character falls over after drinking too much.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dirty Cops (L'amour est une fête) is a French dramedy (with English subtitles) about the 1980s porn industry. It has lots of graphic sex, nudity -- including full frontal -- and drug use. Characters participate in pornographic film shoots, which include implied sex, oral sex, and threesomes; in two instances, a man is presumed to ejaculate over a woman. In one scene, a child is present while a pornographic scene is filmed. Women regularly appear naked, and the camera often lingers on their breasts and buttocks. A female character is seen masturbating, and two male characters start to masturbate in preparation for filming a pornographic scene. Characters take drugs frequently, specifically cocaine, and one character appears to be addicted. Characters also regularly drink too much, and many characters smoke. There's some violence, too (including gunfire), but it's minimal when compared to the sex and drugs. Strong language is used throughout, including "f--k," "p---y," "c--k," "s--t," and more.

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What's the story?

DIRTY COPS tells the story of two undercover cops who infiltrate the 1980s French porn industry. Police officers Martin (Guillaume Canet) and Georges (Gilles Lellouche) -- or Franck and Serge, to give them their undercover names -- take over a peep show business in a bid to get closer to the criminal gangs running the Parisian red light district. When their establishment is attacked, and with debts mounting up, the duo start producing porn films, which brings them closer to the criminals they're tasked with investigating.

Is it any good?

This French dramedy has plenty of style but little substance. Comparisons have been made to 1997's Boogie Nights. But while the porn, drugs, and violence in that movie were held together by a plot, Dirty Cops' narrative plays second fiddle. Set in the 1980s, the movie captures the seediness of Paris' red light district, while at the same time glamorizing it -- opting for comedic set pieces rather than gritty realism. Canet and Lellouche's performances as the undercover cops match those you'd expect from two of French cinema's finest actors. But their descent into the sex-and-drugs lifestyle fails to draw you in, meaning you end up not caring much about their plight.

For a movie that centers around the porn industry, it does well -- for the most part -- in not exploiting the female characters, although there is some leering. It suggests that the women are just as enthusiastic to be a part of this world as the men. Characters sleep with one another with little consequence, capturing the supposed free-spiritedness of the decade. But ultimately that's what the movie feels like: a love letter to a time long gone, whose reality was no doubt far darker than how it's portrayed here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sex in Dirty Cops. Is it exploitive? Do you think it's a realistic portrayal of the porn industry?

  • How does the movie depict drug use? Does it glamorize it?

  • Why do you think Franck and Serge do what they do at the end of the movie? Were you pleased with the ending?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love foreign films

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