Wednesday, March 07, 2012


In his coverage of the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema series Stephen Holden calls 'Intouchables' "...a crass escapist comedy that feels like a Gallic throwback to an ’80s Eddie Murphy movie."

I have to agree. Here's the logline: A petty criminal gets a job as a caretaker for a rich man who was paralyzed in an accident. Sounds very 80s -- very been there, done that.

However, people like it. The movie is very popular in France. It has set records. It's regarded as a cultural phenomenon. So much so president Sarkozy wants the cast over for dinner at the palace. Really. (Okay, that's a rumor, but...really).

Harvey Weinstein likes it, too. He picked up the remake rights. No way, I thought. Hollywood can't remake this. If it's 'crass escapism' then, considering it's a French film to start with, how bad would a Hollywood remake be? I mean, Euro films are much more subtle and layered than the average Hollywood movie. If the original is refined and textured (French) crass, how bad will it be once it's translated into coarse and obvious (Hollywood) crass?

Based on stills and trailer I had seen it looked like it wouldn't translate, like nobody on this side of the pond would care. To put it plainly: It would be too damn dumb and sappy to draw an audience.

Then, two things happened. First, 'The Artist' wins a landslide of awards. This makes French actors (even ones with French names) something we don't (necessarily and/or automatically) hate, especially when they are in movies that make you smile no matter how dour a person you strive to be, especially when the movie is being hawked by TWC (which has the effect of rendering you helpless against any given film's charm), and makes the idea of going to the theater to see a wispy charming dramedy a winning proposition even if the movie's plot comes straight from a made-for-TV movie from the 80s.

The second thing that happened was: I watched this trailer. I had seen a trailer before, but not this one.

I don't know who cut the first trailer I saw, but it was pretty bad compared to this one. This trailer is charming and intelligent, and now I'm thinking a remake is a great idea. We could use a breezy film, especially one with heart, one audiences can't resist, like, say, oh, I don't know...'The Artist'. We could use one of those every year.

I bet that's what Harvey thinks, too.

So, go ahead. Do your remake. Make us laugh, make us cry, make us tell our friends to see the movie until it's so talked about and beloved it wins an Academy Award for 'Best Heartwarming Shtick You Just Gotta See'.

I'm betting that's what Harvey's thinking, too.


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