One night, Antoine (Daniel Auteuil), the affable headwaiter of a swank Parisian restaurant, saves a sad sack named Louis, who's just been dumped by his girlfriend, from killing himself. By the following morning, the sympathetic Antoine has committed himself to rehabilitating his newfound charge, going so far as to intercept the suicide note Louis had written to his octogenarian grandmother. That sequence, featuring the brief but hilarious appearance by veteran French actress Andrée Tainsy as the doddering, sightless grandmother, starts this movie off with an invigorating jolt of lunacy -- and augers a refreshingly zippy and carefree farce. That early momentum, however, slows to a casual amble and, while Après Vous can't quite deliver on its early antic promises, it does provide us with reasonably winning and digestible fare.

You really have to give it up for Antoine. Not only does he put up the hangdog Louis at the apartment Antoine shares with his girlfriend, Christine (Marilyne Canto), he also lands him a gig as a sommelier at his restaurant -- a job that the bumbling Louis is woefully unqualified for (and something the movie milks its fair share of laughs from). In spite of his employer's disgust at Louis' performance, Antoine's resolve is rock solid. It's only when he crosses paths with Blanche (Sandrine Kiberlain), the freckled and long-legged florist that Louis continues to carry a torch for, that he begins to crumble. Antoine and Blanche's immediate chemistry spills into their separate lives, threatening to founder Antoine's relationship with Christine, not to mention the still-pining Louis' mental stability. The swing of the plot's emotional pendulum leads to romantic contretemps that are funny without sacrificing the movie's essential heart and humanism.

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