DINNER GUEST, THE: DVD
Fifty years old and unemployed for three years, Gérard (Daniel Auteuil) is getting desperate when, out of the blue, he is offered a job in Indonesia. Determined to make a good impression on his new boss (Hippolyte Girardot), Gérard invites him to dinner. A BIG mistake! Panic-stricken, Colette (Valèrie Lemercier), Gérard's wife, is a terrible cook but help is on hand thanks to Alexandre (Thierry Lhermitte), their PR guru neighbour. Alexandre - while fending off a one-night stand friend in Sophia (Mar Sodupe) - gives the couple the ultimate 24-hour makeover, adjusting their apartment, interior design, lifestyle, taste buds, fashion sense, general knowledge... the process is filled with drama, mishaps, misunderstandings and general bungling. It is with frazzled nerves that Gérard and Colette open the door to welcome their dinner guest.
Review by Louise Keller:
A frivolous comedy of errors made entertaining by its esteemed cast, The Dinner Guest is scrumptious in parts but doesn't quite live up to expectations. Having said that, it is hard to be too critical of any film whose cast includes Daniel Auteuil, Thierry L'Hermitte and Valérie Lemercier. Based on a play by David Pharao, who has also penned the screenplay, the premise is simple good fun. Unemployed loser invites future employer to dinner, but wife can't cook. That's where the story begins, and of course we know that everything will go wrong.
The film begins with a scene in which a terrified would-be bungee jumper is pushed off his ledge. His comfort zone plummets as does that of the film's central characters who we are about to meet. Auteuil's Gérard is a model train aficionado: his electric train set has taken over the entire apartment, while Lemercier's Colette is a tactful but undomesticated wife, always eager to please. When Thierry Lhermitte's smooth-talking neighbour Alexandre hears about the impending dinner guest the following night, his well-intentioned 'make-over' becomes a source of angst. Suddenly Gérard and Colette are overly aware of their bourgeois taste in art, clothes, music and food.
The pleasures of the film lie in wondering whatever can go wrong next and I am not about to divulge them here. But I did laugh when Gérard's suit trousers become stiff on the freezing balcony after a bathtub accident, and when Colette unpacks hearty slabs of beef, when Alexandre had asked her to buy a 'beefy burgundy'. It doesn't hold a candle to The Dinner Game, which is worth seeing again and again, but The Dinner Guest is worthy of an invitation.
Published September 11, 2008
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DINNER GUEST, THE: DVD (PG)
CAST: Daniel Auteuil, Thierry Lhermitte, Valèrie Lemercier, Hippolyte Girardot, Arthus de Penguern, Pascale Dinizani
PRODUCER: Maurice Illouz
DIRECTOR: Laurent Bouhnik
SCRIPT: David Pharao (novel by Pharao)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jean-Paul Agostini
EDITOR: Hervé de Luze, Frédéric Toroval
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jacques Bufnoir
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy/Sharmill
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: NSW & Vic: March 20; ACT, Qld, SA, WA: April 10, 2008
SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: September 10, 2008