Dave White
The Valet Review

Dave's Rating:


… wacky slapstick, somewhat witty dialogue …

Who's In It: Daniel Auteuil, Kristin Scott Thomas, Gad Elmaleh, Alice Taglioni, Richard Berry, Virginie Ledoyen, Dany Boon

The Basics: Complicated — it's a French sex farce after all — so here goes: Rich guy Auteuil is cheating on his wife (Thomas, speaking perfect French) with supermodel Taglioni. Caught on camera with her and a parking valet (Elmaleh), Auteuil pays them both off to pretend to be a couple themselves. This works for a while until jealousy and misplaced affection make everything crazy. Meanwhile, the valet just wants the money to pay off the business mortgage of the other woman he really loves, and the rich guy's wife isn't fooled by any of it. If the creators are smart, they'll hook up a deal for le sitcom.

What's the Deal? If I knew how to say, "Funny enough, but glad I saw it for free," in French, then that's what I'd write here. It's definitely from the old school of wacky slapstick and zoinks!-style pretzel-twisted plots, the kind where dialogue only has to be somewhat witty to get by. In fact, I think I preferred the wacky slapstick over the somewhat witty dialogue, because I only really laughed out loud in the scenes where one of the valets crashes a car into a snack cart and when a lady's wig catches fire and they put it out by dumping a bucket of water on her head.

You've Seen This Director's Movies Before, You Probably Just Don't Realize It: Francis Veber directed the hilarious The Closet with Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu, but that's just the tip of it. Here's a list of his French comedies that were remade as American films. He's kind of the king of that, as you can see …

1991's Mon père, ce héros. became 1994's My Father the Hero
1986's Les Fugitifs became 1989's Three Fugitives
1985's Hold Up became 1990's Quick Change
1983's Les Compères became 1997's Father's Day
1981's La Chèvre became 1991's Pure Luck
1978's La Cage aux folles became 1996's The Birdcage
1976's Le Jouet became 1982's The Toy
1973's L' Emmerdeur became 1981's Buddy, Buddy
1972's Le Grand blond avec une chaussure noire became 1985's The Man With One Red Shoe

Real-World Fashion Cameo: From crazily high-collared, pony-tailed, not-enough-ring-finger-having Karl Lagerfeld, whose mid-film Chanel runway show keeps faux-model Taglioni looking authentic. And if you're a fan of Gallic stuff in general, check out the really cool Signe Chanel, the five-part French reality show about Lagerfeld that aired on the Sundance Channel.


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