Judge James A. Stewart, DVD Verdict-- The first dialogue in Park Benches comes a few minutes in, when Lucie is accosted by a group of street marketers from Brico Dream who want to sell her some shower nozzles. This was the point where I realized that I'd forgotten to turn on the English-language subtitles, and I couldn't understand the dialogue with my meager knowledge of French. I started over, and when I got back to that scene, I realized that I already had the gist and didn't really need the actual words. There are some funny lines--it's not quite Mr. Hulot's Holiday--but director Bruno Podalydés knows his way around sight gags. The tone at Lucie's office is captured quickly when you see what's on the computers--Pacman, an apartment hunt, and personal ads--and when you see the crowd gather to greet Lucie and her fellow explorers as they return from the unsuccessful attempt to meet "Homme Seul." At Brico Dream, a team member's oddly placed tool looks like, well, a tool, a big coffee machine requires some surreal giant batteries, and a game of charades explains a problem with a drill.
There are gags with words, as when a man and a woman discuss their loneliness with unknown friends on cell phones and then suddenly meet--and completely fail to hit it off. However, you'd be able to get by on just the gestures and actions of the non-couple. Occasional bits like some dirty malaprops or some trash talking on the playground do require subtitles or knowledge of French, though.
Very little of Park Benches revolves around the "Homme Seul" banner, although Lucie does eventually get to meet the lonely man and find that the mystery isn't all that mysterious. It's not quite a red herring, though, since you meet other lonely people, such as the non-couple on the cell phones, throughout the movie.
Park Benches is divided into three parts: the office segments at open and close, lunchtime at the park, and afternoon at Brico Dream. The office segments contain what there is of a plot; the park scenes mix in a lot of the local Parisian color that I've come to expect from modern French comedies, with a lot of people running radio-controlled boats on the water; and the Brico Dream segment gets really farcical.
Park Benches is a bright, cheerful-looking movie whether indoors or outdoors and you can distinguish all the overlapping dialogue.
-Full review at dvdverdict.com