This French Farce Has Occasional Heart, But Lacks The Requis
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 02/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Apres Vous" is, on the surface, a likable film. While many will get caught up in its slight, and familiar charms, I quickly came to the realization that the film was neither funny enough or original enough to qualify as top-notch French farce (a subclass of films that I quite enjoy). While not a complete disaster, it does take a great and inventive premise and eventually waters it down into predictable romantic fare.
The film starts out so promisingly. Daniel Auteuil (are there any French films he isn't in?) stars as a successful and respected headwaiter at a fine Parisian dining establishment. On his way home one night, he spies a man attempting to hang himself in the local park. This sadsack, played by Jose Garcia, is virtually silent and despondent over a lost love. The rescue scene is quite amusing, and Auteuil (ever the good guy) takes Garcia home with him. Now Auteuil takes on the role of benefactor and protector for his fragile new friend, even as it puts his own relationship in jeopardy. Over the next few weeks, the men bond--Auteuil provides new confidence, a new job, and attempts to locate the woman from Garcia's past.
This being farce--the workplace scenes are outrageously improbable. This actually detracts from the picture because they require such a suspension of disbelief. The search for Garcia's ex is particularly complicated as she is engaged and Auteuil also finds her alluring. But my issue with "Apres Vous" has less to do with the plot than with the characterization of Garcia. Meant to be amusingly insecure, he comes across as annoyingly inept. It becomes extremely difficult to root for him because for much of the picture he is nothing but a blob of tics and complaints. Far from being hysterical, it's impossible to imagine that anyone would have put up with him!
Near the end, much of the humor goes by the wayside as we reach for an obligatory romantic conclusion. I didn't, as I said, terribly dislike this film. However, I did feel that it had the potential to be so much better. It's never a good thing when a farce doesn't keep you laughing--for when you're not laughing, you start to recognize a film's limitations. Slight, unassuming, pleasant--there are worse things out there. KGHarris, 02/07."
Real French Fun
christa burke | USA | 05/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pure fun!! Enjoyable and very smart. A kind of French twist on the American film "What about Bob"."
True French Farce as only The French Can Do It!
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 03/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The words "farce" and "French" have almost become eternally linked.Moliere got the ball rolling 300 years ago, and still today the French know how to truly make this literary form work.APRES VOUS ("After You")pits France's top comedian Jose Garcia and arguably France's top actor,Daniel Auteuil, in this very quickly paced, twist and turned,always nearly off kilter comedy about a maitre d' named Antoine, (Auteuil) who benevolently saves Louis (Garcia) from hanging himself over the breakup with his girlfriend, Blanche (Sandrine Kibelain). Louis is so grateful, but so depressed, that he attaches himself like a leech to Antoine, thus putting Antoine constantly trying to put Louis' tragic existence back together.Antoine does everything from intercepting suicide notes to getting him a posh position as a wine steward at his restaurant.It is when, though, Antoine attempts to mend things for Louis with Blanche that he faces his biggest,funniest and most illuminating obstacle yet.
I have been watching Daniel Auteuil for years ever since his Cesar win for Jean De Florette / Manon of the Spring (MGM World Films) and The Girl On the Bridge (La Fille sur le pont) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Great Britain ], but I honestly believe that Auteuil is a more brilliant comic artist.He does things with his eyes and body language that great serious actors are able to do when they do comedy.If you have seen Auteuil in My Best Friend and The Closet then you have already seen just how hilarious this multi Cesar Award winner can be. Put him with Garcia, and this is classic French Farce at it's best. The ending is a TOTALLY unexpected surprise.Highly recommended.Subtitled."