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MY BEST FRIEND

SYNOPSIS:
François (Daniel Auteuil) is a divorced antique dealer living in Paris, who appears to have everything. He is successful in business, has a pretty girlfriend and a teenage daughter who occasionally stays with him. When his business partner Catherine (Julie Gayet) tells him that he has no friends, a stunned François suggests a wager, in which he will give her an expensive antique Greek vase, if he fails to produce his best friend within 10 days. But he discovers it is not so easy to find someone willing to pretend to be his best friend, and enlists the help of trivia-sprouting taxi driver Bruno (Dany Boon) to teach him 'the three S's' - to be sociable, sincere and smiling.

Review by Louise Keller:
Friendship is the pot of gold under the rainbow in Patrice Leconte's entertaining, feather-light buddy movie, in which Daniel Auteuil's François cannot find himself a pal. Leconte has entertained us before with his odd-couple pairings in films like Man on the Train, and here, François and Dany Boon's Bruno are total opposites. François is cultured, calm and cold, while Bruno is genuinely sweet, albeit highly strung. The road to discovering the priceless nature of true friendship is a bumpy one, with laughs, surprises and heartfelt underlying truths par for the course.

Daniel Auteuil's François has no social skills. What is even worse, he does not know it, as he poaches clients from colleagues and has no time for everyday niceties. "You have no friends; you only like things,' his business partner Catherine (Julie Gayet) tells him after François has a sudden urge to bid 200,000 euros for a 5th Century BC Greek vase depicting the undying devotion of Achilles to Patroclus. When François puts his beloved vase on the line if he does not produce a best friend within 10 days, little does he realise the implications. The results are farcical when François heads for a book store whispering self-consciously as he asks for the self-help book 'How to Make Friends' followed by an aborted attempt with the telephone service Dial a Friend. Then he notices Bruno, the Barry Jones of taxi drivers, who knows every bit of trivia and who is 'sympa' with everyone. Auteuil is as convincing as ever, while Boon is endearing as his expressive face reveals his every emotion.

Leconte smartly avoids the inevitable gay relationship inferences by giving François a girlfriend, and negates sexual innuendo with Catherine by making her a lesbian. The implied attraction between Bruno and François's daughter reassures us that Bruno, too is heterosexual. With set up and players in place, it is now time to discover the intricacies of manipulation and the vulnerability of the heart as the stakes get higher and higher. The search for a best friend can be emotionally and literally shattering, but the experience is one that leaves us smiling.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

MY BEST FRIEND (M)
(France, 2006)

Mon meilleur ami

CAST: Daniel Auteuil, Dany Boon, Julie Gayet, Julie Durand, Henri Garcin, Jacques Mathou, Marie Pillet, Élisabeth Bourgine, Jacques Spiesser, Audrey Marnay

PRODUCER: Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier

DIRECTOR: Patrice Leconte

SCRIPT: Patrice Leconte, Jérôme Tonnerre

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jean-Marie Dreujou

EDITOR: Joëlle Hache

MUSIC: Xavier Dermeliac

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Not credited

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 24, 2007







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