Le jeu n’en vaut pas la chandelle. ‘The game is not worth the candle.’
The English translation is almost my trademark phrase…I’ve written about it frequently and I use it often. It’s such an economical way to say the effort required to attain an objective is greater than the reward. Victor Hugo used the phrase (though it was not original to him) in his novel, The Man Who Laughs.
From one perspective, the phrase is a cynical way of looking at the world. But from another (and in my opinion, better) perspective, it is an elegant way to express a practical measure of unwarranted effort.
The game is not worth the candle.