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Ralf Milan, a hitman, arrives in Montpellier to kill an important witness. He checks in a hotel without knowing that his neighbour has become neurotic after his wife left him. Written by
Jean-Yves Simon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"L'Emmerdeur" (1973) is the French movie which originated a US remake directed by Willy Wilder -"Buddy Buddy" (1981), starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. It was the last Wilder movie, not bad at all, but this original one is far better.
French star Lino Ventura and Belgian singer Jacques Brel were friends, they shot their first film together with Claude Lelouch "L'aventure c'est l'aventure". They wanted to team again and chose established comedy director Edouard Molinaro for adapting this movie, written by Francis Veber -who later became another master of French comedy...
A gangster named Milan takes a room in a Montpellier hotel, which is located in front of a Tribunal. He has a mission -shooting from his window for killing the key witness of a trial. In the room next to his there's a man, François Pignon, who is desperate instead. he wants to commit suicide because his wife quit him. The meeting of the two originates a series of accidents and misunderstandings...!
The comedy is excellent, with two actors in a really good shape. The highlight is that Brel and Ventura characters are so different and have nothing in common. Each, in his own side, is not funny -one is serious and cold, the other is sad and loser. BUT their combination is absolutely comical. (The way Brel calls Ventura -"Monsieur Milan!"- is irresistible!)
It's a high quality comedy, one of the most famous ever made in France. Edouard Molinaro directed other great comedies -among them two films with Louis De Funès and "La Cage aux folles", the gay comedy starring Michel Serrault and Ugo Tognazzi. Molinaro is at ease in making "L'Emmerdeur", many scenes are also shot by himself carrying a camera on his shoulder...
But the other leading person behind this film is, as already said, Francis Veber. His lines and situations are typical of the comedies he'll direct later -among them "La chèvre" with Depardieu and Pierre Richard, "Le diner des cons" and "Le placard". There's his recognizable style of creating strange situations -Veber likes putting in his films two completely different actors and creating comical situations from that.
Another thing: Jacques Brel's character is called François Pignon. It's the same name Veber uses in his other films for one of the two leading roles -the name itself has become synonym of an awkward, unlucky, naive and a little stupid person...!
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