Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Thierry Lhermitte, Amina Annabi, Chantal Lauby, Gilbert Melki, Caroline Dhavernas
Director: Pierre-Paul Renders
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
In a delightful mix of the smartness of The Truman Show with the slapstick laughs of Knocked Up comes -- Mr Average. With the polls tightening the incumbent president (Thierry Lhermitte) hires a marketing company to help h... more »
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Definately Well Above Average
Daniel G. Lebryk | 03/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What does Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris, Germany, and Canadian money all have in common? Well the average of those things is, Mr. Average.
This is a surprisingly good film. It's a bit like the Truman Show, where Jim Carrey is filmed 24 hours a day and broadcast to the world, but is unaware. Of course this film takes a French twist to the story, it's a lot more cerebral and more sensual (both really great things). The story is pretty basic, Jalil is a contestant on a mythical confusing television show where he has to answer questions and is guaged on how close to the public he gets his answers. Well of course Jalil is a genius and wins. He wins a lot of things, including a stunningly beautiful Claire (Caroline Dhavernas) as a girl friend, and an inexpensive apartment. Claire brings product samples all the time because she works for a marketing company where she gets these things. The rest of the plot is well worth discovering.
Another great surprise - the soundtrack. There is some downright excellent music in this film. It fits the film perfectly.
There is a wonderful chemistry between Jalil and Claire, a sense that they really fall in love. There's also the King of Queens / Acording To Jim syndrome - fat guy gets incredibly hot woman. In Mr. Average it becomes very clear why Claire is attracted to this kind sweet caring overweight person.
Why all the locations? The film is supposed to take place in Paris, and the right cues are given at the right moments - the cars do have 92 on the license plates. There's no really recognizable landmarks, but it's not critical. The television room was filmed in Luxembourg at this incredibly ultra high tech bank board room. Pierre-Paul Renders is Belgian, Mr. Average is only his third film as director. There was a television studio available in Germany. Caroline Dhavernas is Canadian. Mystery, somewhat solved.
Mr. Renders has a really great sense of film pacing and story telling. There are some minor missteps here and there, that's expected in such a young director. He captures technology extremely well. The computer software overlay on the hidden cameras was very well done. The film was tack sharp in focus. Hints to later events are well dropped in the film. The advertising and fake products all ring true. The television newscasting is excellent, so often this sounds horribly fake.
The film is unrated. This reviewer would guess PG-13. There was no nudity whatsoever, although this film has some wonderful senuous moments all treated with class. The cover art makes this look like some kind of hard R rated film - that couldn't be farther from the truth. The subtitles did not translate the foul language into the correct f-bombs, there's no real strong language or offensive language. There is no violence at all. Pretty certain MPAA would find a way to make this R rated, maybe all the kissing at the end.
The DVD has a fabulous Making Of featurette. It's remarkable how European film manages to get this right (or they have a different formula that in the US). It's centered around an interview with the director. He talks about location shooting. The video camera films while the real cameras are rolling, so the viewer gets to see the things going on around, and then gets to see the same clip that was finished for the film.
The film is presented in French with English subtitles that can be turned off. The translation is not bad. Some of the real French language was a bit strong but subtitled to something a lot softer (a good thing, the audience grows because of that).
This was a surprisingly way above average film. The French name is Comme Tout Le Monde - which is more Like Everyone - but Mr. Average is a lot more meaningful. Watch for Caroline Dhavernas (lead in Wonderfalls), she is simply wonderful."