The Valet (2006) Poster

(2006)

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9/10
A wonderful romp.
nylensky24 May 2007
Since the general plot, etc., is pretty well discussed here, I won't bore you with the details.

This movie needs to be viewed for the love of it...not to be dissected and intellectualized.

This movie is simply a playful romp. AS Daniel Autille, one of my favorite French actors, gets deeper and deeper into his rouse he gets more and more desperate. His comedic turn is a delight to watch and proves his versatility. His last movie was the incredible "Cache".

Some of the set-ups are wonderful...who cares if some have been done before...and some are fresh and all are done with glee and panache. In fact all of the actors seem to be having fun.

One great aspect of this movie is that there is character development ... several characters are forever changed, for the better, by the end of the movie.

I have no qualms about recommending this movie to friends and film buffs alike. Just go and enjoy.

I hope some Hollywood type doesn't make an American botch job of this one.
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8/10
if French films annoy you, then....
ptb-818 December 2006
see this one! THE VALET is hilarious! I haven't laughed so loudly and enjoyed a French farce so much since LA CAGE AUX FOLLES in 1980. No doubt there will be a terrible USA remake (hello Nicholas Cage, Nic, pick up the phone, it's Disney remakes on the line) which will blunt the silliness and sharpness of this Gallic comedy. Another comment on this site said it is a sure successor to Billy Wilder comedies and that is probably as close to the mark, generating the audience goodwill before they buy at ticket. And you should too; THE VALET like Wilder's ONE TWO THREE or KISS ME STUPID, is intelligent ridiculousness, all glossy with flowers and puzzled faces, retorts and door slamming, bumbling and embarrassments. If Blake Edwards was still making films this would his perfect project as a remake in the US; sadly I expect it to be handled by some MTV hack who will turn it into gravy with a few punches. But, see it first as THE VALET. Laugh. What a delight to see Kristin Scott-Thomas too. What a sly role for her. Yum.
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8/10
Funny Funny Movie
sidunrau7 June 2007
This film is hilarious. The set up is a bit unbelievable, but the actors make it work - and mostly believably. The model in the film is refreshingly genuinely nice and not a caricature of a "supermodel." The depth of the main unwitting character, the valet himself, is a bit lacking - but hey, he is charming, as is the rest of the cast. Besides, since he is lovesick, perhaps his lack of depth is at least understandable. The feel of the movie is also quite uplifting - the bad guy loses in the end, and the good guys win. The ride is just fun, and filled with twists and turns, most of which the audience gets to be in on. The only character that was TOO shallow was the valet's girlfriend - she just didn't seem to be worth all the fuss, to me. I don't understand the PG-13 rating - it is not vulgar nor is there any nudity.
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Sweet and Funny
RussyPelican31 October 2007
I really enjoyed The Valet. It's a sweet little film that had me grinning the whole way through. My smiles were only interrupted now and then by bursts of laughter.

Gad Elmaleh plays a valet who through pure chance is photographed with a billionaire (the always wonderful Daniel Auteuil) and his mistress, a famous supermodel. When the photo turns up in the tabloids the billionaire must convince his wife that the supermodel is really with the valet, so he gets them to live together while his wife has them shadowed by private investigators. The plan backfires on the billionaire when he finds himself consumed with jealousy at the thought of his mistress spending the night with another man, so he also sends private investigators to watch them. Meanwhile the Valet has romantic problems of his own that are complicated by the fact that all of a sudden he finds himself shacking up with the most beautiful woman in France. It's a cute and funny little romantic comedy.
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9/10
5 Festival De Cine Franco-Mexicano: La Doublure (2006)
RainDogJr12 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Parrallel to La Muestra International De Cine, the last Thursday starts this little festival of french films in Mexico City, i say little because is only one week and only in one cinema. But i found this very good just for the chance to see different films and also because the cast and crew of most of the films (there are 12 films in total) came to Mexico City.

Yesterday i have the chance to see this film, the first that i see of this festival and i like it. Is a simple and nice comedy about Pignon, a man who is offered to live with a top model ( an offer that nobody can't refuse) just for save the marriage of a millionaire who is the lover of the top model.

Maybe the plot is not great and is not very real, i mean i don't think that a supermodel is like the one of the film, but the film carry out with the principal and unique point: entertain.

I mean i really laugh a lot, especially in the beginning when Pignon is still living with his friend and the relation between Pignon's father and his doctor is nothing but hilarious.

So i really recommend this film if you want to see just a nice comedy.

Well after watch one film of this festival and other of La Muestra International De Cine ( the two festivals right now in Mexico City), i have more desires of watch another of this festival.
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10/10
Veber has done it again
trevormerrill7 April 2006
This laugh out loud comedy also has a lot of heart. Fans of The Dinner Game, The Closet, and Veber's other classic comedies can expect more of the same--a fall guy named Pignon, a hilarious case of mistaken identity, some touching moments of friendship, and a lot of shameless farce a la Moliere. But La Doublure offers a few new twists on the familiar Veber formula, including some fine satire of the fashion scene and a powerful commentary on the power of appearance and reputation to shape our desires. Some may say it's "just" entertainment--but like his great predecessors in the tradition of French farce and popular theater, Veber packs a lot of punch. This movie not only pleases, it also proves instructive about friendship, love, and the perils of becoming really rich. It's the director's best film to date and features great performances by Auteuil, Scott Thomas, and the rest of the star-studded cast.
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7/10
Frence Farce Fantastically Funny
lastliberal9 April 2008
Dany Boon (Joyeux Noël) got a César nomination for supporting actor as the best friend of a really lucky guy.

Daniel Auteuil (Caché, Girl on the Bridge) is hilarious as the billionaire caught with his supermodel mistress, France's Actress of the year for 2006, Alice Taglioni (The Pink Panther). François (Gad Elmaleh) just happened to be in the published picture, so they paid him to fake a relationship with Taglioni to fool Auteuil's wife, Kristin Scott Thomas (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The English Patient, Gosford Park). She's no dummy, knows he's lying, and that's when the fun really begins.

Of course, our man François is really in love with Émilie (Virginie Ledoyen - 8 Women, Saint Ange).

It is all good fun and credit for that is not only due to a fine cast, but to writer/director Francis Veber (La Cage aux folles), who put together some great lines and a funny situation.

Please do not let them make a stupid American remake. It won't possibly be as good as the French version.
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8/10
A wonderful French farce!
adeej14 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Continuing on in fine form from the wonderful film 'The Closet', Veber has created a film that is wonderful for those who need to see the lighter side of life. Although the situation shown in the film is perhaps not very realistic, the excellent timing and wonderful lines in the film made me laugh regularly throughout. On the negative side, I would have liked a few more aspects of the film to have been developed further - for example, further examination of the problems the company was facing, together with further examination of the marriage relationship between the CEO and his wife. The acting was great. In particular, I enjoyed Kristin Scott Thomas's portrayal of the suspicious wife. The supermodel was also very beautiful and certainly a pleasant sight to examine for any red-blooded male! This film would be great to take your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife out to for a special date. A highly recommended comedy.
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Updated theatre de boulevard.
dbdumonteil2 September 2006
Nothing new under the sun:wives,lovers,girlfriends,mistaken identities...But why deny yourself a good thing,an entertaining unpretentious funny little comedy?You should be wrong.

An excellent cast,male and female,gives this trite story substance.Daniel Auteuil,as the villain,a smug mean bourgeois who thinks that money can buy everything,Kristin Scott-Thomas ,as his cheated wife who threatens to ask for a divorce (and it is her who owns the dough),Alice Taglioni as the gorgeous but sensitive top model (definitely not a bimbo),Gad Elmaleh as the clumsy shy prole,Virginie Ledoyen ,one of the most promising French actresses,as a sentimental bookseller and Richard Berry as Auteuil's lawyer.

A few nods to "rear window" .And a very funny (and moral) ending.
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8/10
Not your average comedy of errors
rooprect18 February 2012
On the surface, "La Doublure" (literal French translation: "The Stand-In") may seem like a standard switcheroo rom-com, but it's so much more than that. It's a classic morality play, not unlike something from Shakespeare or Molière, meticulously written and executed to deliver laughs as well as deeper messages.

You can watch it on either level. If you're in it just for laughs and some funny twists, there's plenty of them. If you sink your teeth deeper, there's a lot of clever symbolism and some nice allegories. For example, take our hero's job: a parking valet. He gets to drive all the hottest cars in the city but they're not his to keep. Just like the hot supermodel he gets temporarily paired with.

Director/writer Francis Veber is known for this sort of comedy. I don't want to label it "intelligent comedy" because there's nothing snotty or pretentious about it. Instead it's good comedy for the masses but with a clever edge. A note about Francis Veber: his standard recipe is to create an "everyman" character (who is always named François Pignon in every movie) and place him in an absurd situation that is the result of the strangeness/hypocrisy of people around him. François is always an innocent patsy, and the nuttiness just follows him wherever he goes. In that respect, it's the opposite of the Shakespearean formula where the "fool" is wise to everyone's ways and in control of the drama despite appearances. The Vebersian formula is to make the "fool" literally a fool, and that makes us connect with him & hope things turn out for the best. Another excellent example of this strategy is in Veber's film "Le dîner de cons" ("The Dinner Game") which is the film that introduced me to the genius of Francis Veber.

If you watch the DVD extras, you'll see how meticulous Veber was in making this film. Every word was carefully scripted, and the delivery was hammered down to a science. You'd never guess it sitting in the audience's seat because it comes across so smooth and easygoing. But make no mistake, everything was carefully planned. There is nothing sloppy about this, or any other film of Francis Veber.

The result is 90 minutes of pinpoint comedic timing, great performances from every actor (including the minor roles), and a fun experience as if you've seen a well produced stage performance.

If you like classy comedies with picture-perfect accuracy, movies like Frank Oz's "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "Death at a Funeral" or Blake Edwards' "Breakfast at Tiffany's", I think you'll really like this. Another one, also starring the excellent Gad Elmaleh, is "Priceless" (the modern French version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's"). All of these comedies are in a class by themselves and well worth the price of admission.
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Seductive Word Surprises
tedg15 November 2010
Needing something lightly comic, Veber was my man.

His "The Closet" was trivial, but few trivial things are amusing and fondly recalled. Here, with a different actor, is the same character with much the same quality.

I won't bother you with the story. It doesn't matter. What matters is the way the humor is designed. Essentially all the humor is in the lines. There is no physical comedy here and almost no visual comedy. It is mostly in the dialog. Here is the trick: where other comedy is episodic and/or depends on a zany pace, this has pretty much a normal world, and normal pace. You cannot read the warning signs that a joke is coming. It could appear at any moment, and does from the very beginning.

So very early in the game we are trained to engage ourself very closely and pay attention. This is painless because the world we invest in is so light. We need erect no barriers. Because we open ourselves so, we anticipate what might be funny, investing in the possibility. The form of the thing enlists us in making funny.

This is easy to test. I believe it to be true, and honorably delicate in the way it helps us live.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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7/10
Pleasantly Surprised
MooVBoy29 January 2008
I'm 50/50 on foreign films as subtitles often give me tired-head. Having said that, this film is surprisingly witty, well-paced and in the spirit of La Cage Aux Folles or Victor/Victoria - without musical numbers.

If you've seen and enjoyed the original or foreign versions of The Monster, Night on Earth or the aforementioned La Cage Aux Folles or Victor/Victoria you shouldn't be disappointed. Like most recent releases it's long on closeups and two-shots yet lacks intimacy - which is OK for comedies of the ilk. And in the final analysis, the spirit of wacky comedy is clearly presented in a way that only the French conceive.

While not the pinnacle of Veber's cinematic achievements, it's certainly no bust. By comparison, the American master of this genre, Blake Edwards, has had his fair share of hits and misses and I could easily see him directing the American version.

In a nutshell, it's a nice little date rental - cute romance with a touch of culture and a lot of humor.
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7/10
Good comedy
loolbender5 April 2006
To avoid telling his wife he's been taken in picture with his top-model of a lover, a billionaire makes everyone (especially the press) think that she lives with an average guy. This guy, the classic Francois Pignon (Gad Elmaleh), is a very limited and naive valet who doesn't understand why he gets paid to live with a model.

Although the plot is totally unbelievable, the main actors (except for Daniel Auteuil) are really supporting it. And once again, Francis Veber extremely well defined the main character.

It would have been too easy,in my opinion, to make Francois Pignon and Elena fall in love for each other, and the director avoided this trap by adding another women in the story.
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9/10
Cat Among The Pignons
writers_reign27 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Now that Billy Wilder has gone it's nice to know that Francis Veber is still here to remind us of the Wilder style, charm and class. This is not to say that Veber is in the same league as the Master but he's definitely in the same ballpark; let's put it this way, if Wilder was a fifteen-to-one martini then Veber is a ten-to-one and if you've ever sampled an EIGHT-to-one martini you'll know just how potent a ten-to-one can be. Wilder delighted in sight gags and meet-cutes and here Veber offers both. It is, in fact, a sight gag that kicks us off; two top-of-the-line sports cars pull up at a stop light and the two drivers, Gad Elmalah and Danny Boon, exchange compliments. Then the lights change and we follow them to discover that both are Parking Valets for a tony restaurant at Chatillon. Next comes the meet-cute: Daniel Auteuil is the multi-millionaire honcho of a large corporation, married to Kristin Scott-Thomas but putting in heavy duty sack-time with an International model Elena (Alice Taglioni); ultra discreet he has minders to check the street before venturing into and leaving the communal love-nest but when Elena storms out in the wake of a quarrel he throws caution to the wind and confronts her on the sidewalk where, natch, he falls victim to a strolling paparazzo but who should be passing at that very moment but Francois Pignon (Gad Elmalah) so, doing some very fancy dancing Auteuil convinces Scott-Thomas that it is Pignon, not himself, who is the item with Elena. The next step, of course, is to get Taglioni and Elmalah to shack up together to look convincing - see what I mean about Wilder? Taglioni is, let's face it, a world-class beauty if you like that sort of thing but Pignon happens to be dating Virginie Ledoyen who leaves Taglioni dead in the water but it makes for some nice complications. Also on hand are Michel Aumont - who also has a nice line in sight gags - and Danny Boon and given that Veber is now lacing his comedy with heart - a la The Apartment - the result is the perfect Saturday night movie.
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7/10
Routine French farce
Chris Knipp9 February 2007
This film, entitled "La Doublure" or "the stand-in" in French but retitled The Valet in English, was produced by old line French studio Gaumont. Veber is the mainstay of conventional French screen comedy. He wrote the Cage aux Folles screenplays and directed The Dinner Game/Le Dîner de cons and The Closet/Le placard (the latter starring Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Depardieu) and lot of others. The only trouble is, Veber has done so many of these things now their action is routine-ized. You can see the jokes coming well ahead, especially the visual ones. And some of the jokes are so clunky. A doctor who has to be treated by his patients—come on! Is that really funny enough to carry on to scene after scene? This time Veber's every-guy character François Pignon (here Gad Elmaleh) gets pulled into a scheme by megabucks CEO Levasseur (Auteuil) to extricate himself from charges that he's been cheating on his wife Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) with his mistress of two years, "top-model" Elena (Alice Taglioni), which obviously he indeed has. A paparazzo has snapped Levasseur in a compromising scene squabbling with the beauty, but Pignon was walking by and his face is also in the background of the tabloid picture. If Levasseur can make it look like Pignon is the boyfriend (don't look into that too closely) he's in the clear.

Pignon has just been shot down after proposing to his childhood sweetheart Emilie (Virginie Ledoyen). His roommate and fellow parking valet (voiturier) at a posh restaurant, Richard (Dany Boon), has just moved out. His girlfriend is 32,000+ Euros in debt at the bookstore she's recently opened. Levasseur talks Elena into moving in with Pignon and pretending to be his girlfriend for the paparazzi to get himself off the hook. Pignon is asking only the 32,000+ Euroes as payment, but Elena has been promised a whopping 20 million Euro guarantee that when this is over, Levasseur will eventually marry her. If Christine were to divorce Levasseur she could take 60% of his company's stock with her. He doesn't really want that. His trouble is he doesn't really want to give up Elena either. He wants his dough, he wants his company, he wants his wife, and he wants his mistress. He's a pretty greedy guy. A snag is Christine has detectives carefully sussing all this out. He hasn't really fooled anybody, except a few paparazzi, who could care less.

Veber uses glitz to liven things up and moderates that diet with niceness. As in Hollywood, moral virtue wins out against the ravages of raw capitalism and somewhat against everyday experience. Of course bad guys do get caught, but not as easily as this. The fancy cars the valets get to drive dazzle us just as does the top-model's beauty (and a Chanel-Lagerfeld runway show happens with the elegantly cadaverous Lagerfeld himself on hand). Kirsten Scott Thomas adds impeccable class to her minor role as the wronged but unflappable wife.

If these were all poor people none of this would happen. This is a case of Money Makes Funny.

The joke-message is money doesn't really matter (I guess). Elena would rather ditch Levasseur than get his 20-million-Euro bribe. She actually likes Pignon – he's a decent fellow and he's got those big bright eyes — and she gradually builds up his ego while getting a lesson in decency from him, in case she needs one. (One would think she would, but that isn't gone into.) Pignon's girlfriend Emilie relents and accepts his hand and in this process Elena becomes a sort of fashion star fairy godmother.

Veber doesn't engineer a splashy finale. Things end not with a bang but a whimper — Pignon telling Levasseur off and leaving him on a lonely road in his car.

Richard Berry as Maître Foix, Levasseur's lawyer who arranges all the "stand-in" business, gives one of the film's juiciest performances, with all-black outfits and tight close-ups to highlight his efficient, plummily amoral manner. It's a nice moment when he asks Levasseur "May I speak to you as a friend?" and Levasseur quickly replies, "No." Auteuil, with his polished lack of affect, is perfect for his role.

This isn't as ingenious as The Closet or The Dinner Game (and other earlier Veber comedies) and maybe that's why we can see the wheels turning so clearly. It's entertaining but lacks wit. There is a great French tradition here but it lies in shreds and tatters. The timing is good (if obvious) and the acting is polished and, where it has room to be, appealing. But this is like doing a crossword puzzle. When it's over, you're done with it forever.
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7/10
Not Veber's best, but still not bad
tnrcooper3 June 2007
This movie, by the maker of The Dinner Game, La Cage Aux Folles, and some other fantastic comedies is a well-executed film, if one can swallow some, at least for me, unreasonable premises. The story is that a very wealthy business mogul (Daniel Auteuil, perhaps a bit too manic as Pierre Lavasseur) has been caught by his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas very capably playing a very capable co-CEO named Christine) allegedly, or what is (rightly) believed to be, a clutch, with a famous supermodel named Elena (the charming Alice Taglioni). An unlikely figure, a humble valet named François (the charismatic Gad Elmaleh), is caught in the picture, which is plastered across tabloid newspaper front pages. Pierre's only hope, and to me, the weak point of the premise, is that François is the man with whom supermodel Elena is involved. Pierre tracks François down and convinces him via a small (which is all François wants in order to purchase something for his true love, the down-to-earth bookstore owner named Emile (an unfleshed out part performed well by Virginie Ledoyen)) gift to live with Elena as though they were a couple. This leads to one of many attempts at surveillance from both Pierre and Christine as both attempt identify whether Pierre was involved with the supermodel. However, and while the essence of relationships for Elena is the same as that for Pierre, it seems completely ridiculous that Christine would even consider taking Pierre at his word, that indeed the supermodel was dating this humble and plain valet, and not the media mogul. So weak does this point seem, that to me, it halts my suspension of disbelief which precludes me from believing that the basic premise of this film could be plausible. That said, if you can accept this premise, I think you will enjoy the film. Veteran and very talented director Francis Veber has been a fantastic director with a great appreciation of the nuances of human relations and the director of other excellent comedies like "The Dinner Game" (1998), "La Cage Aux Folles" (1980), "The Closet" (2001) is very talented. However, I just find the underlying premises of this movie problematic. That said, the romantic dynamics are fascinating and addressed thoughtfully. The film is the work of a pro, one premise aside. I found it to be much less satisfying given the implausibility of the idea that Elena would date François.
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3/10
An immense disappointment
Balthazar-523 April 2015
At a time when French cinema is at, IMHO, its lowest ebb, with not a single great auteur in sight, I had come to rely on Francis Veber to provide excellence in comedy if of only a not very profound type. After Three Fugitives (both versions) and Le Dîner des Cons (to name just two) his films seemed to be heading into Blake Edwards territory.

But, oh my word!, what a catastrophe is this grotesque. The central character drifts through a series of 'adventures' involving an unpleasant millionaire (Daniel Auteuil) who is cheating on his wife (the fabulous Kristin Scott Thomas) with a model.

The whole thing is flat as a pancake, probably due to the casting of Gad Elmaleh - French cinema's most over-rated actor. This numb-skull drifts through promising scenes but doesn't give what is needed to bring them alive.

This is all the more troubling as, given he is playing the same character (or at least the character with the same name) as the central character in Le Dîner des Cons, François Pignon, One imagines what the magnificent Jacques Villeret could have done in the same rôle, had he not died just before the film went into production.
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6/10
slight, amiable, it's French romance with a piffy sense of comedy
Quinoa198422 June 2007
Francis Veber has probably seen better days as a filmmaker- he directed the Dinner Game, much appreciated by those who've seen it, and he wrote the original La Cage Aux Foux script- but it's never a bummer to see him pour out his contrived romantic comedies. It's the kind of movie where there is not a whole lot to really praise to the heavens as being truly sharp and original wit and style with the characters and plot, but at the same time I can't think of anything that is necessarily horrible either. Like a breezy enough sitcom with pleasant enough cast members, the Valet makes its presence known early on enough (following the opening titles, which are quite impressive), and it moves along pretty quickly. Maybe too quick, possibly, as it could have more of an impact with further developed characters. The one who gets the most real investment of full dimension is the wealthy adulterous husband, played by Daniel Auteil, who previously played Francois Pignon in another Veber movie, only this time played by the average shmo-like Gad Elmaleh.

It would be a little pointless going through the big hoops in describing the plot as it is stemming from a fairly obvious, if clever-obvious, premise (the Village Voice review is basically a whole description of the review, in much more amusing respect than I could muster). But it should be noted that all of the little twists that occur without there being a whole lot to connect with the characters aside from schadenfreude with the rich guy (and his wife instigating it, played by Kristin Scott Thomas in surprising 100% French), because the ones who are the everyday folk are kept a little too simply: girl needs money for her father, but doesn't want to get involved with the man who loves her so. We're told they're kindergarten friends, but there is very little else to go on as to how Francois's connection to her could be so strong, aside for plot convenience. It's like one of those goofy and simple cooked-up scenarios, with devious and rational-minded characters in equal measure, that could pop up in a less savvy programmer that pops up on weekday mornings on Turner Classic Movies.

Which is, in an off-handed way, a slight compliment I hope. It's about as light as comedy can get, with the roughest touches of absurdity being the doctor father being treated by his own patients, a woman who's head is caught on fire while her waiter is taken by the sight of the supermodel and valet, and the very last scene, which has a comeuppance that is cheesy, but very funny, and a surprise considering the lack of transvestites in the film. I liked The Valet, but it's nothing to get worked up about to leave the house and rush to the theater to see.
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9/10
Adorable movie
aronsmithier20 April 2019
My first French movie was "The Closet" which I watched way back and liked it. So been intending to watch more French movies since then but never materialized. But eventually watched this movie and loved it. The story is simple yet entertaining and loved the characters. Good movie and a keeper.
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8/10
funny spirit translates to English
morgan57625 August 2018
I loved this movie, even though i had to watch it with English subtitles because i dont speak french. it was still fun! i recommend it. if you liked Girl with a Bicycle then you'll like this movie too. enjoy!!!
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5/10
It's a matter of a Pignon...
ElMaruecan8217 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
In a span of thirty years, Francis Veber's movies, in the same vein than Billy Wilder's work, have always been consistently good and intelligent, only inspiring some cringe-worthy American remakes. "The Valet" was actually worse than any potential Americanized version, and the opening scene sent its tone of lame predictability.

Gad El Maleh and Dany Boon ride classy expansive cars and make a few snobbish comments as if they tried to impress each other. Later, the camera pans at the back of their shirts where we 'discover' they are parking valets. Anyone familiar with the trailer or the basics of humor could have seen this gag coming a mile away. It wasn't a bad one actually but it highlights the film's main problem: many promising things on the paper but a failure at the execution, starting with the plot.

Yes, a rich man caught with his mistress by a paparazzi and forced to pretend that the lover was actually the 'other guy' on the cover, was a juicy premise, a typical Veberian screwball comedy full of malicious intertwining maneuvers and the fetish character François Pignon, previously played by Pierre Richard, Jacques Villeret and Daniel Auteuil. But this time, Auteuil is the 'bad guy': Levasseur, the businessman who owes his fortune to his wife Christine. Kristin Scott Thomas plays (once again) her rich icy woman, with such a frigid authority it almost excuses Levasseur's affair.

And Veber's camera is so enamored with the beautiful, tall and young mistress Elena that it never elevates her above her sole, defining status: the trophy girl, Levasseur's first and then Pignon. It gets worse because of Taglioni's performance, she's good actually but there's too much self-awareness about her physical assets, she's so in-control of the situation, that the scheme orchestrated by Levasseur and his cunning lawyer (Richard Berry) backfires from the start, especially since Christine is determined to find the truth. Both engage their best detectives to watch the lovers and wait for the 'faux pas' (although with diverging motives).

In a better movie, Pignon could have cheerfully welcomed the opportunity but the script insists on his mediocrity and gentleness as if both were sides of the same coin. Here, he's a loser who can't even convince his childhood friend (Virginie Ledoyen) to marry him, you got to wonder what made him so sure she would say yes. He's a nice guy and a loser even by 'Pignon' standards, Pierre Richard and Jacques Villeret played Pignons with colorful personalities, even Auteuil in "The Closet" wasn't a decent simpleton, but Pignon, as played by Gad, is so flatly gentle and faithful (to the woman who rejected him) that it confined to 'asexual' contrivance. In other words, he was boring.

It's like making Pignon a decent fellow was a priority over spicing up the plot a little, Elena is nothing but a trophy girl. "She'll call you back", she says about his girlfriend, and she's right. Pignon's situation reminded me of the times where I met a beautiful cousin in the street and pretended (later) to my drooling friends she was an old acquaintance. Pignon's aura is elevated by his company and feminine jealousy does the rest. In this movie, women are driven by the shallowest motives and men are two-dimensional plotters or imbeciles. But labels are still prevalent and the 'hero' must triumph while the bad guy must get his comeuppance.

Levasseur starts as a troubled man trying to save his marriage and fortune, he spends the whole second act teased by his wife and worrying about the seemingly sensual interactions between Elena and Pignon, in a tense state that works like a punishment already, but for some reason, he's turned into a pathetic last-minute villain at the end of the film. He knows his wife framed him, his mistress manipulated him yet he blames everything on Pignon. And Pignon gets the girl he's always loved because she realized how 'interesting' he was. Superficiality runs in this film, it practically gallops, and don't even get me started on the cocky ringtones Don Juan.

From the very director who signed such gems as "The Dinner Game" or the recent "Shut Up", here's a movie whose characters are only props to highlight the shallowness of our time when they're not pawns… there's no redeemable character in that sad mess. I could feel the director slipping and I'm not surprised this was his last film before a remake (that failed). There's something that just rings false all through the film, and that includes the obsession with cell phones as if the old-school director wanted to modernize his movies. That might explain the casting of Gad as Pignon.

Pignon is a lovable outcast, but they tried too hard with Gad, he's got the handsomeness of a romantic leading man, and Gad belongs to the breed of comedians with a rather limited range. As Pignon, his sweetness was also wrapped in two facial expressions: crisped mouth with sad or puzzled eyes that either scream "I'm innocent!" or "What have I done?" in every frame. Where's the goofiness? Where's the genuine likability? Well, I guess it was somewhat present in the comic relief role, Dany Boon who played his buddy, he would have made a better Pignon… in my opinion.

The whole film is just a succession of scenes victims of a bad editing, like build-ups for gags that never happen, and when they do, they fall flat, except for a clever nod to "The Dinner Game", Veber's masterpiece. "The Valet" still met with moderate success, benefiting from Veber's reputation and the aura of all the leading stars, but the film never holds up to its premise.

And don't get me started on the ending, Veber used to end his movies with an icing on the cake, here, the cake was literally thrown to our faces, or was it to point out that this whole mess was only a "travesty" of comedy?
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9/10
One of the best French language romantic comedies
Dunham1626 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A charming romantic fantasy, its plot is utter nonsense and the minute by minute to storyboard twists likely to be ones you wouldn't encounter in real life. Against a beautifully photographed and edited travelogue of hidden corners of millennium Paris, we meet two not well bonded couples of entirely different worlds and entirely different socioenomic classes, the lady brilliant, logical and successful in life, the man not that good a go getter in job hunting, not that socially successful and not someone the world would pick for her. The ridiculous way they collide by a ridiculous turn of plot, interact in each others lives, and relate to a fifth principal character, a supermodel landing the highest paying and highest fashion gigs Paris has to offer,is enticing in the visual and a hoot in the dialogue. How either couple ends up and the ridiculous way each gets there is always a mystery in romantic fantasy until almost the second the final credits are flashed, yet SUPERBLY pulled off this film.
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Light-hearted First Rate Cast and Script!
Sylviastel14 November 2011
Most Comedies even French comedies can be slapstick but not this one. It's truly believable as Francois Pignon, a valet at an upscale restaurant near the Eiffel Tower, is caught in a picture on Parisian streets with Daniel Auteil's character and the character's mistress, Elena. The casting is first rate as Daniel Auteil plays the businessman and adulterer. He is married to Kristin Scott Thomas's character. She's delightfully charming, shrewish, and quite clever to outsmart him or anybody else. She wants to catch his affair in order to win in the divorce. Auteil and Scott-Thomas are truly believable in their roles. Kristin Scott Thomas, a British actress, is truly perfect as a French socialite wife. The cast who plays Francois, Elena, and the supporting players are all first rate, believable, and definitely casted to perfection. The writing is also done well as if not to be outlandish or over the top. The story is pretty hard to believe but you believe it. It's a fun film to watch and entertaining for every minute of it.
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6/10
Who's My Girl?
Rindiana2 February 2011
Not quite as hilarious as earlier Veber concoctions, but as funny as modern-day bedroom farces may get nowadays. The French are masters at that type of comedy.

The actors do their best with their paper-thin, but likable characters, some scenes work wonderfully, others feel too forced, but the good-natured proceedings ensure pleasurable viewing.

A certain snappiness would've given the material's fluffiness the necessary edge.

Still watchable, though the final joke's too silly.

6 out of 10 unlikely playboys
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8/10
Very enjoyable
rowiko18 December 2010
The film didn't have me rolling on the floor with laughter, but then again, perhaps it's not supposed to.

Daniel Auteuil is brilliant and cast perfectly in the role of the billionaire CEO. He's probably my favourite French actor, and also here he doesn't disappoint.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this film, although I'm not sure I would want a second viewing. It's enjoyable and does have its funny moments, but I wouldn't rank it as one of the best comedies I've seen, as I think there are better ones. But for anyone who wants a relaxing evening on the sofa with a glass of wine and something enjoyable to watch, there's no reason I couldn't recommend this film.
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