Jean Dujardin and Michel Hazanavicius lose a whole heap of post-Artist audience goodwill with their follow-up collaboration, The Players (Les Infidèles), an irksome smut-fest that starts spryly, stutters quickly, and finally conks out. The blame can’t really be laid at Hazanavicius’s door, mind you. For The Players is a portmanteau film: a collection of adultery-themed sketches and shorts, helmed by a range of directors, including Fred Cavayé, Emmanuelle Bercot and Alexandre Courtés, none of whom manages to distinguish themselves here. Casting Dujardin and bromance buddy Gilles Lellouche in a variety of philandering incarnations, and culminating in an embarrassingly awful Vegas adventure (directed by the two actors) that takes a - heavily signposted - queer twist, the films recycle national and gender stereotypes with a staggering lack of irony or insight. Pretty inept when going for gags (witness Courtés’s crisply edited but dismally unfunny Adulterers Anonymous skit) and even worse when striving for depth (see Bercot’s Scenes From A Marriage-lite episode featuring Dujardin and real-life spouse Alexandra Lamy), the movie’s retrograde sexual politics remain unappealing throughout. Actually, it’s Hazanavicius who contributes what turns out to be the best-sustained and most affecting segment, which features Dujardin as a horny conference attendee, frustrated and finally humiliated in his desperate efforts to get laid. The single biggest laugh, though, comes courtesy of Guillaume Canet (atoning for Little White Lies, perhaps?), and involves a pesky pooch and a used condom. Quite literally, it’s a throwaway.