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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Après Vous

Posted on Thu, Jul 28, 2005 at 4:00 AM

****
Après Vous
Studio: Paramount Classics
Rated: R
Website: http://www.paramountclassics.com/apresvous/index2.html
Release Date: 2005-07-29
Cast: Daniel Auteuil, José Garcia, Sandrine Kiberlain, Marilyne Canto, Garence Clavel
Director: Benoit Graffin, Pierre Salvadori
Screenwriter: Benoit Graffin, Pierre Salvadori, David Leotard
WorkNameSort: Après Vous
Our Rating: 4.00

By taking its cues from the old saw that no good deed goes unpunished, Après Vous earns its place in the pantheon of well-regarded French-language comedies (The Dinner Game, for instance) that find their humor in mounting complications. A suicide attempt by unlucky-in-love sad sack Louis (José Garcia) grabs the attention of good Samaritan Antoine (Daniel Auteuil), who makes the grave error of taking sympathy on the wannabe corpse. A temporary cohabitation arrangement follows, with Antoine volunteering all manner of favors for his new roomie; naturellement, all this do-gooding translates into nothing but trouble for poor Antoine, whose own life starts to go into the dumpster with frightening speed even as Louis is finding his feet. Director Pierre Salvadori's dryly malicious take on the buddy picture sags a bit around the two-thirds mark – he's attempted to hang more on the film than its basic framework can support – but there are still plenty of rib-tickling highlights, like a wonderfully uncomfortable pantomime routine performed by Auteuil. Besides, a sweet center rests beneath the film's crusty exterior; Salvadori clearly wants us to recognize that self-sacrifice is a noble ideal no matter how likely it is to put one's croquettes in a vice.

film@orlandoweekly.com

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