Alexandra Vandernoot

Alexandra Vandernoot

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The Dinner Game Review


Very Good
French farce as it's rarely done these days -- well. The Dinner Game presents the straigtforward tale of a wealthy publisher who attends a weekly "idiot dinner," with the prize going to the guest who brings with him the biggest fool. Pierre (Lhermitte) is sure he's going to win with François (Villeret) -- only they never actually make it to the dinner because Pierre hurts his back. The idiot becomes an unwanted guest in his home, and before we know it, Pierre's life is almost ruined thanks to François's stupidity and naïveté. There's a moral to the story that I won't ruin, but The Dinner Game is raucously funny despite its smallness. An excellent way to spend a free hour and change.

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The Closet Review


Good
In this lighthearted, unpretentious comedy, Daniel Auteuil sheds the intensity of his previous roles -- in Les Voleurs, Ma saison préférée, Manon of the Spring, to name just a few -- and plays a shy, crooked-nosed accountant too boring to be tolerated by just about anyone. His François Pignon -- an appropriate name for somebody who is about to be fired, literally, for being a bore -- is a harmless placeholder who has no ambitions and no misconceptions about who he is.

Pignon's wife couldn't stand him and left two years ago, yet he still phones regularly to her and their indifferent teenage son. After learning that he is soon to be fired, Pignon, distraught, returns home and meets that "perfect stranger" we all want to meet someday: The one who steps into our life and brings magic into it. From that moment on, the neighbor, Belone (Michel Aumont), navigates Pignon's life like a chess game.

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The Closet (Le Placard) Review


Very Good

Although Francis Veber's "The Closet" is billed as a comedy, it's not clear at first what sense of humor it might have. The prolific French director has been known to make screwball comedies ("Le jouet"), social commentary comedies ("La cage aux folles") and even cruel, dark comedies ("Le diner des cons," aka "The Dinner Game").

Since "The Closet" is about a miserably-divorced, middle-aged, middle-management sad sack (Daniel Auteuil), all the early indicators pointed to it being one of those melancholy, sad-clown French comedies that have a tendency to become quickly tiresome.

Auteuil wakes up the morning after learning he's about to be fired and stares dejectedly out his large kitchen window like nothing more could go wrong in his life.

Continue reading: The Closet (Le Placard) Review

The Dinner Game Review


OK

Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I just don't find Francis Veber's brand of French farce all that funny. "La Cage aux Folles"? Feh. "Le Jouet"? Nice try. "Les Comperes"? Whatever.

But then again, I think the American remakes of these movies -- "The Birdcage," "The Toy" and "Father's Day," respectively -- are considerably worse.

"The Dinner Game" seems to be more of the same. The writer-director's new effort is about a club of Parisian yuppie socialites who gather monthly for a dinner at which they compete to see who can bring the biggest idiot.

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Alexandra Vandernoot

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Alexandra Vandernoot Movies

The Closet Movie Review

The Closet Movie Review

In this lighthearted, unpretentious comedy, Daniel Auteuil sheds the intensity of his previous roles --...

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The Closet (Le Placard) Movie Review

The Closet (Le Placard) Movie Review

Although Francis Veber's "The Closet" is billed as a comedy, it's not clear at first...

The Dinner Game Movie Review

The Dinner Game Movie Review

Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I just don't find Francis Veber's brand of French...

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