Le Dîner de Cons (1998)
I’ve a huge fondness for this film. It was the first foreign language film (that I recall) seeing in the cinema. A simple premise, some well to do high-flyers each week get together for dinner and each bring a guest. The game, to bring the stupidest person they can find for their entertainment and gratification. Cruel huh! Don’t worry, the idiots will have the last laugh. Pierre is on the lookout for an idiot, he doesn’t have one yet. He’s in luck though as a friend discovers François on a train and arranges for him to meet Pierre. François makes models from matchsticks, he’s very passionate about it and he’s lovely! He’s also a bit hapless, setting off a chain of hysterical slapstick events that torment Pierre to his very core. He’s got it coming, selfish and arrogant, karma has it’s sights firmly set on Pierre. He has a bad back, a complex love life, he’s unravelling and François is there to speed things along. He doesn’t mean to bugger things up, but has the perfect knack of saying the wrong thing, to the wrong person at the wrong time. It’s like watching a slow motion car crash, destructive, cringe inducing, but you can’t look away. Except it’s also packed with razor sharp wit. Jacques Villeret as François is the star, his comic timing is impeccable. Screwing up with one hand, dangling the promise of a fix with the other. It reaches dizzying heights pretty quickly, but things really crank up when François enlists his taxman colleague, rival football team supporting friend Cheval to help fix Pierre’s love life. Together they are pure magic. Within the space of little over an hour, whilst never leaving Pierre’s flat, François lovingly and in the nicest possible way, brings Pierre to his knees. Even when François finds out he’s the idiot, still he tries to help, showing Pierre the error of his ways as François single handily fixes things in the sweetest sincere way... well nearly. I believe someone remade an American version, I’ve not seen it, I know it’ll be utter merde compared to this delightful comedy.