Francis Veber

Francis Veber

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The Valet Review


Weak
After a lifetime of carefully calibrating small-idea comedies, French director Francis Veber hits his biggest movie to date. Already planned to be remade in America by the Farrelly brothers and Veber himself, The Valet marks the first time where Veber's deft skills at wild-eyed slapstick and quick-witted jabs have failed him in his endless fascination with the comedy of manners.

It all starts with a poor valet named Francois Pignon (Gad Elmalah), who wants to be the knight-in-shining-armor to his longtime friend and crush Emile (Virginie Ledoyen). Emile needs money to keep open her quaint little bookshop, money that Francois is sadly without. Enter Mr. Levasseur (the great Daniel Auteuil), a philandering corporate dud, and Elena (stunner Alice Taglioni), his model girlfriend, who get photographed together by accident, with Pignon right next to them. The scheme gets thick: The businessman will stake the dough for Emile's store if Francois pretends to be the model's lowly boyfriend. The tent for the media circus is quickly erected as Christine (Kristen Scott Thomas), the businessman's loaded wife, mounts her own investigation into the validity of the relationship.

Continue reading: The Valet Review

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.

Continue reading: The Dinner Game Review

The Man With One Red Shoe Review


Very Good
Richard, a hapless orchestra violinist played by A-lister-in-waiting Tom Hanks, unwittingly and unknowingly becomes a focus of governmental intrigue in this clever remake. When a deputy director at the CIA falsely identifies Richard as a man with helpful information, a rival faction at the Agency tries to infiltrate his life. While a bumbling duo of agents work surveillance, a sexy blond spy (Lori Singer) attempts to seduce Richard to get inside his head, but instead gets her hair stuck in his zipper. Meanwhile, an intelligence team led by Dabney Coleman deconstructs Richard's mundane life in a desperate attempt to decipher what he knows.

Red Shoe is a remake of the French film Le Grand Blond Avec une Chaussure Noire ("The Blond Man with One Black Shoe"), which was a commentary on the operations of the Secret Service in a country that values its privacy. The American version is more an adult slapstick than the satire on Cold War excesses it occasionally portends to be, but it still works as a comedy with an unusually twisty plot.

Continue reading: The Man With One Red Shoe Review

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.

Continue reading: The Closet Review

Francis Veber

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Francis Veber Movies

The Valet Movie Review

The Valet Movie Review

After a lifetime of carefully calibrating small-idea comedies, French director Francis Veber hits his biggest...

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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