Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Le dîner de cons (The Dinner Game)

Although I've only seen two of Francis Veber's films (Le placard and this one), he's one of my favourite comedy directors. Besides, guess what? You'll be elated to learn that this comedy actually got nominated at the César Awards (the French Oscars) for Best Film! Even though Le dîner de cons didn't win that César Award, it sure deserved its nomination.

Each Wednesday, Pierre Brochant (Thierry Lhermite) and his friends organize a dinner. In this dinner, each organizer have to bring a "cunt" they had met. Afterwards, they let the "cunts" talk and laugh at them all night long by making sure that they don't notice it. Of course, before attending to the dinner, Pierre had planned to have in his appartment a little chit-chat with François Pignon (Jacques Villeret), a "first-class cunt" who likes to build miniature versions of great monuments with matchsticks, in order to know him. However, since Pierre got a backache in the day, he can't attend to the dinner. Therefore, Pierre will end up spending a terrible evening with François while Pierre wanted to laugh at François.

I don't if if it's only a feeling that I have, but to me, it looks like the French are a tad better than Canadians and Americans when it comes for making comedies. In fact, while Le dîner de cons might put on display scenes that might look vulgar given that Pierre wants to take advantage of François, it's one of the few comedies I've pleasantly gone through because it combines an intelligent writing and comic situations.

Obviously, this goes without saying that Thierry Lhermite's and Jacques Villeret's performance full of subtleties makes the whole film screamingly funny. In fact, this comedy is good for your health in the way it deals with its premise. While Pierre wants to have fun enjoying François's stupidity, the public gets to laugh about Pierre's own blunders. After all, as the film smartly asks us, who's the dumb? François, because of his obvious lack of judgement? Or Pierre, who got the idea to keep François in his apartment while he had many occasions to send him out? Besides, what makes the film so enjoyable is the fact that it doesn't make any judgement about the two characters who are amazingly imperfect in their own way (despite Pierre's belief that he's immune to any criticism).

Finally, since it's adapted from a stage play, Le dîner de cons might seem a little bit formulaic. In fact, as the film advances, it becomes obvious that its goal consists in piling up one goofy situation over another. However, as a comedy, Francis Veber's film goes further in that it uses theses situations quite well to illustrate the characters' own imperfection. All in all, this is what makes this film a must for comedy lovers.

Rating: 4/5

Origin:France (1998)
Length:85 minutes
Screenplay:Francis Veber
Director:Francis Veber
Starring:Thierry Lhermite, Jacques Villeret and Alexandra Vandernoot

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