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Pierre Martin teaches quantum physics at the renowned Sorbonne University in Paris. He has a daughter, Sylvie, who lives with him. One day Pierre learns that he has inherited an inn from an aunt. The trouble is that the establishment is located amid the snows of a small village in Québec. Nobody would have bet on it but Pierre decides to leave his job, to fly to Sainte-Simone-du-Nord and operate the inn. As for Sylvie, she follows her father there despite his reluctance. Unfortunately for both Michel Dolbec, the apparently friendly mayor, secretly covets the inn and is prepared to do everything to make their lives a misery. Written by
Pierre Richard ("Distracted", "The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe", "La Chevre ") is a French comedy actor who was very successful in the 1970's and 1980's. Disregarded by most critics for being "commercial", he has been rehabilitated lately, and it is only fair. For Pierre Richard, far from being just "commercial", has managed to impose a character of his own creation, which is not so common, that of a naive daydreamer, kind-hearted but always blundering and overwhelmed by events, a man everyone identifies with but in whose place nobody would like to be in real life. Copying no one, copied by no one, Pierre Richard is an authentic comic genius, now luckily fully recognized. So when it was announced that our Gallic absent-minded one would fly to Canada, the idea sounded nothing less than attractive. But would the graft take ? Now, judging by the result I am afraid the answer is no, it has not! The pitch was promising, though: Pierre Martin, a Paris quantum physics professor, unexpectedly inherits an inn amid the snows of a small village in Quebec. Against all odds, he decides to go there and operate the establishment. What he does not know is that Michel, the mayor of Sainte-Simone-du-Nord, has an eye on the inn... Unfortunately, due to Robert Ménard's uninspired, heavy-handed direction, the lack of subtlety of Guy Bonnier's script and the way some of the actors outrageously overplay their scenes, all combines to make unfunny a comedy which could (and should) have snatched laughter. Pierre Richard is his usual moonstruck clown self, in other words he is at once spontaneous, charming and droll, but what can he do when the others lay it on thick with a trowel and keep on pulling faces? For another reason, Sylvie Testud proves unable, despite all her talent, to defend her character (Pierre's daughter) properly. Ill-defined and one- dimensional, always playing on the same note (disapproval and annoyance), the role of Catherine Martin will never be a highlight in her filmography). When all is said and done, "Le bonheur de Pierre" both fails as a comedy and as an offbeat vehicle for Pierre Richard. A missed opportunity indeed. But if you are still willing to see our Pierrot transplanted into a foreign environment, you can fall back on Nana Dzohordzhadze "A Chef in Love". It is much better.
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