★★★½ - STUFF
- Appealing cuisine and countryside lift latest French buddy comedy -
Vincent (Lambert Wilson) is the urbane founder of Europe’s largest dating site and a man once voted the continent’s sexist entrepreneur.
Pierre (Gregory Gadebois) is a marine biologist who has retreated to the woods in order to keep an eye on his widowed sister-in-law Camille (Marie Gillain).
When the former’s car breaks down, the latter comes to his rescue, but as Pierre struggles to get rid of his talkative guest, he begins to wonder if he made a mistake.
A hedonist living at breakneck speed, Vincent is also a self-confessed insomniac. After storming out of a television interview and suffering what he believes is a panic attack, he returns to Pierre’s Auvergne-Rhône Alps cabin under the pretence of having left his late father’s pen behind while lazing in a hammock.
Announcing that he wants to be Pierre’s “apprentice” around the property, he inveigles his way into a long-term stay.
“Two weeks in here and I’ll write Robinson Crusoe,” he boasts, noting the next day that while “it might be a 20km drive to get a croissant, I haven’t slept that well in years”. However, it seems self-improvement might not be his only motive for spending time – and bonding – with Pierre.
France’s latest buddy comedy trades heavily on the disparate physicalities and audience perceptions of Wilson (Mrs Harris Goes to Paris) and Gadebois (Delicious) and – to be fair – they make for an entertaining odd couple.
Writer-director Besnard (Delicious) creates plenty of conflict and hilarity-inducing scenarios for the pair, while also keeping Vincent’s overall plan and Pierre’s understated, but undeniable affection towards Camille nicely simmering in the background.
As with Delicious, there’s also plenty of mouthwatering cuisine on display – don’t be surprised if you find yourself hankering for an omelette after you see what Pierre manages to whip up.
Yes, it’s all a touch predictable and you know there will be harsh words – and reconciliation and a better understanding – between the “snake oil salesman” and “lumberjack” before the end credits roll, but, for many, the alpine backdrop and the central pair’s bluster and banter will make the journey to that inevitable destination more than worthwhile.
- James Croot, STUFF
A Great Friend is now playing at Light House Cinema!
(In French with English subtitles)