DIRECTOR: JEAN-MARIE POIRE
COUNTRY: FRANCE 1993
CINEMATOGRAPHY: JEAN-YVES LE MENER
MUSIC: ERIC LEVI
CAST: Christian Clavier, Jean Reno, Valerie Lemercier, Marie-Anne Chazel, Christian Bujeau, Isabelle Nanty
SUPER FEATURES: Time warp'd fun adventures.
WARNING: The American copy later is not one half as good as this film!!!
It's a shame that these types of comedies do not make it in America. These are worth a lot of fun, and they display a sense of humor that few people can enjoy or appreciate. It really is a story in the style of The Goons, the American Firesign Theatre, or even a Monty Python story - not just a vignette. but unlike those stories, this one has no deus-ex-machina working for it, in the country that just about perfected it with Moliere. Says a lot more about many other fluffy comedies...
An 11th century knight and his loyal page consult a wizard regarding some trivial matter or other. But the old wizard messes up and forgets one ingredient, and that gets the knight and page in another century, the 20th to be exact.
The great premise brings about some great moments, like the characters considering cars dragons for the longest time, and many other idiocies that we have forgotten to appreciate because we live with them, least of all perfumes and baths.
In the 20th century, everything is messed up. The descendent of the knight is now the servant, and the page's descendant is now the owner of the castle and its lands. This creates several caste problems between the characters and it gets exploited to the max. But the whole film, does not stop there. The page, who is very clever, gets a whiff of the whole thing better than his boss, and when it is time for him to return home he makes sure that he is not the one who goes, but his relative, and he gets the bimbo that has befriended in the meantime, and turns the hotel into a fun place to visit and be.
The story is almost not needed, but it helps. There are some excellent moments in this film that define "eccentric' to the max, and makes for a very enjoyable film.... with subtitles.
However, the best part is really missed in the translation. The film uses old french versus the new french, and that in itself creates a great many words that come and go and get lost in the translation. it is probably the best part of the film, other than the great visual gags.
With very enjoyable performances, and well understated humor to make sure that this is not lost in a laugh track, this very good film never got the appreciation that it should have. by all means, it is a valuable, and enjoyable film. you won't soon forget it.
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