• Film
  • Comedy
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Gathering his marbles (and any other weather-damaged, spring-loaded knick-knacks that may be in the vicinity) after the sepia-hued slushfest of ‘A Very Long Engagement’ (2004), France’s master craftsman, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, returns with a comic potshot at the arms industry that makes for a hearty, if modest, return to form.

Firmly cleaving to his instantly distinguishable ersatz style in which cogs, pulleys and levers are tossed at the screen whenever possible, his story follows a band of oddballs as they administer a convoluted course of revenge on the tyrannical directors  (Nicolas Marié and André Dussollier) of two rival weapons manufacturers. The catalyst for all this is the plight of body-popping video-store assistant Bazil (Dany Boon), whose father, we learn, is killed by a French-made landmine. To add injury to insult, Bazil is caught in the crossfire of a gun battle and gets a locally produced bullet lodged in his brain.

While it’s admirable that Jeunet has attempted to channel the mirth into a serious, unequivocally political statement, he does little to allow us to take his gestures seriously: it’s as if, say, Jacques Tati had chosen to make a film about the Rwandan genocide and insisted on keeping the silly hat. The point at which we’re supposed to see the funny side of extraordinary rendition is the glib gibe that pushes it over the edge. Yet, the film has its pleasures, namely the  nimble, assured camera work and a script (written with regular Jeunet collaborator Guillaume Laurant) that constantly evokes the droll spirit of his hero, Jacques Prévert.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday February 26 2010
Duration: 102 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Screenwriter: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Cast: Dany Boon
André Dussollier
Jean-Pierre Marielle

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

"Wacky" rubbish-tip-dwelling misfits club together with drippy, gormless hero, and, motivated by nothing other than genuine altruism, bring multi-billion-euro international arms dealers to their knees. If you can swallow that - and are more than 13 years old - then frankly you must have a bullet lodged in your brain, too. While I am quite aware that the director was not aiming for realism, it is impossible to get beyond the implausibility of the plot (such as it is). Presumably in an attempt to make up for the complete absence of any meaningful character development, the actors are called upon to indulge in ever-more grotesque facial gurning as the film progresses, and - inevitably, in a film so obviously contrived to warm the heart - there is a stomach-churning love story amateurishly sellotaped on to the end. This is strictly for children, although it is so sickly that their teeth will have rotted by the time that the irretrievable 102 minutes are up. So, take your kids, and a sleeping pill, but - crucially - don't watch more than five minutes of it, or you'll end up taking all your sleeping pills. Awful, cutesy, sickly, contrived, intensely irritating nonsense.

Kolya Gelsin

the beginning is scarily bad, Amelie mark 2, but once the action starts the film settles into a fast-paced trick-packed farce; entertaining but zero pathos till the end scene in the un-desert; I'd have liked it more if there had be no CGI; none of the CGI was needed and it all detracted; well-acted, well-filmed in a glossy sort of a way, fun but lightweight; a good PC kids' film


Loved it, but then I am French. Great script, great filming, bizarre and entertaining. I don't think it was made to kick-start a polemic on the rights and wrongs of arms dealing. Take it for what it is, and enjoy it.


A great film, very much like `Welcome to the Sticks` (also Danny Boon).Funny and touching.


Like Paul, I was relieved when it finished. Not particularly funny. I think you've got to be a real movie buff to want to see this one ... there are plenty of other first class films out there at present ... "Hurt Locker", "A Prophet", "A Single Man", "Crazy Heart" and so on. This is an ok film, but I would suggest you don't pay full rate for a seat to this one ... you'll be cross if you do ... wait until it's on at the Prince Charles Cinema and pay a fiver for a seat.


don't be put off by the reviewer or the one other comment so far, excellent fun as long as you take it to be a comedy and not a political pamphlet. the audience I watched it with was laughing loudly irrespective of frenchness.


Left me mostly cold with just a couple of laugh out louds, but the french in the audience seemed to find the knock abound fall down comedy funny. Vive le difference, For me, I tried hard to like it, but it didn't click and I was relieved when it finished. Carry On Dans Les Rue