Daniel, you're a star
Do-anything actor Daniel Auteuil sparkles in the endearing French ménage à quatre "Après Vous."
By LESLIE (HOBAN) BLAKE
"Après Vous" ("After You") was the funniest of three French comedies in the 2003 Lincoln Center Rendez-Vous series, showcasing French films that rarely hit our fair shores. Two of the films also shared similar themes and settings-money, love, and restaurants. And now, only two years later, American audiences can finally enjoy the special pleasures of "Après Vous."
Its comical ménage a quatre includes Antoine (Daniel Auteuil / "Sade"), a genial maître d', and Louis (Jose Garcia / "Beaumarchais"), an unemployed potential suicide. The happy-go-lucky Antoine rescues the hapless Louis from his suicide attempt and then inexplicably takes on the responsibility for his rehabilitation. Louis has failed at every pathetic job he's ever held-the list is not only sad but fall-on-the-floor funny. And he's also lost Blanche, the florist/love of his life.
|Original title: Après Vous.|
Directed by: Pierre Salvadori.
Written by: Danile Dubroux, Benoît Graffin, David Léotard, Pierre Salvadori.
Cast: Daniel Auteuil, José Garcia, Sandrine Kiberlain, Maryline Canto, Michle Moretti, Garance Clavel, Fabio Zenoni, Ange Ruzé, Andrée Tainsy.
Cinematography: Gilles Henry.
Edited by: Isabelle Devinck.
In French with English subtitles.
Related links: Official site
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On the distaff side, Sandrine Kiberlain reunites with her Beaumarchais co-star Garcia, bringing her wistful, waifish beauty to Blanche's slightly dipsy character. In his heroic attempts to save Louis, Antoine ignores his own very sensible girlfriend, Christine (Maryline Canto), then not only hires Louis as sommelier at his restaurant (with the inevitable devastating results), but searches out Blanche to reconcile with Louis.
Since this is a French film, Jacques may not get Jill and Louis may not get Blanche, but there is a raffish rondelet of lovers and a Gallic-style happy ending of sorts for all. Although it's not a musical, I dare anyone to leave and not start whistling the film's catchy theme song, "Allo Charley, Tango Papa," by Mort Shuman of "Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well..." fame.|
A word about Auteil, who (like his compère Depardieu) is the kind of supreme actor capable of convincing an audience in any role. Whether it's comic, tragic, historical, pastoral well, anything he's equally credible as a hunchback swashbuckler ("Le Bossu") , a Parisian nebbish ("The Closet"), or the malevolent Marquis de Sade. This no doubt accounts for his 11th César nomination for "Après Vous." (For the record, Depardieu has 14 nominations and each actor has won twice.)
Now if only some savvy distributor would also bring that other working-class comedy ("Le Coût de la Vie") to America, especially since both films fairly scream for instant American remakes. Think Tom Hanks as Andy (Antoine) and Will Ferrell as Lou (Louis) with Sandra Bullock as Blanche and ... well, you get the picture!
|JUNE 8, 2005|
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