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If you carefully watch the "full Cast and Crew" for "Buddy, Buddy", you can notice that the original play and the screenplay are from Francis VEBER, who also wrote the original screenplay of the 1973 movie by Edouard MOLINARO. Chronologically : 1973 - L'Emmerdeur, by Edouard MOLINARO / 1981 - Buddy, Buddy by Billy WILDER / 2008 - L'Emmerdeur, by Francis VEBER. So, before "noticing" that a movie reminds you of another movie, and maybe suggest that it is a "copy", please go through the "full cast and credits" and READ the names of the people who wrote the screenplay, or the original book or play... This could avoid some unneeded comments. Thank you.
"A Pain in the Ass" ("L'emmerdeur") was originally a play from Francis
Veber--one of France's best writer/directors. The story was made into a
film in 1973, remade as "Buddy, Buddy" in the States a few years later
and now is remade here in 2008. In between, Veber also was responsible
for "The Dinner Game" (recently remade as "Dinner for Schmucks"). These
are a lot of films with essentially the same idea. In every case, a bad
person ends up having their lives destroyed by an idiot--a well meaning
idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.
The film begins with the police taking a witness across the country testify. However, there's a price on his head and the police are taking a caravan with several cars, an armored truck and lots of well-armed men. What they don't know is that an assassin is waiting across from the court in a hotel--waiting to pick off the witness. The problem is that a total idiot living next door starts a series of events that roll out of control when he attempts suicide. In addition, a guy who's stolen the idiot's wife gets pulled into it--and he, too, has his life ruined by the idiot and a lot of weird coincidences. It's all very dark--but also quite funny--even if it has been filmed many times already. While not among Veber's best work, it is still quite good--and I have no idea why it currently only have an IMDb score of 4.9--as this would seem to indicate it's a bad film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Francis Veber wrote a hit play that was the basis of the original
Edouard Molinaro's film "L'emmerdeur" starring Lino Ventura and Jacques
Brel. Now, for a change, Mr. Veber decided to do his own version of his
original creation. The result is a comedy that probably had the best
intentions to please an audience, but it should have been left alone,
which, in retrospect, was a better film. The movie reminds us of a
French farce with doors opening and closing all the time. Mr. Veber has
given it a frantic pace that works some times.
The premise is the same. A hit-man, Ralf Milan, is asked to kill a criminal kingpin in an important case that is coming to trial. Milan is not prepared for the turn his mission will take with the arrival of the suicidal Francois Pignon to the room next to him. As Milan prepares for the execution, his neighbor Pignon decides to end his life, without any luck. Fate brings them together as Milan cannot get rid of the jerk that has entered his life to make his job impossible.
Patrick Timsit, a stand up comic in his own right, and an actor that has been seen in other French comedies, plays the Jacques Brel role. Richard Berry appears as Ralf Milan, which was originally played by the great Lino Ventura. The pair has some good moments, and comparisons are unfair, but the 1973 comedy, in retrospect was more inspired. Beautiful Virginie Ledoyen is seen as Louise Pignon, making us think whatever did she think by marrying Francois in the first place. Veteran actor Michel Aumont is seen as Randoni, the man being brought to trial.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had the great pleasure of seeing the stage version - complete with
the two leads - in Paris shortly before it was filmed. I was already a
fervent admirer of Francis Veber (I still am) and owned the original
film version on DVD, in that version, of course, Veber supplied only
the screenplay. Reading the four reviews here it would seem that Veber
is an acquired taste and if that is so then Billy Wilder is also an
acquired taste, for Wilder it was who 'adapted' L'Emmerdeur' into what
became his last film, 'Buddy, Buddy', which did, of course, fail to
find its audience. All this to one side L'Emmerdeur remains a great
conceit in all three versions and if Lino exudes more menace than
Richard Berry then so be it, just as, by the same token, Patrick Timsit
IS Francois Pignon in a way that Jacques Brel could only aspire to.
Comedy? Check. Black? Check. So what are you waiting for.
Let me start, by saying, that I didn't know this was a remake and I
haven't seen the Original movie. The idea it plays with is funny enough
to be remade I guess. And only the french seem to be able to walk this
fine line, between being annoying and successful with this concept,
which this movie proves, too.
Talking about annoying, one of the two main characters, is very annoying, but without him, you wouldn't have a movie. And although some things seem completely OTT, it still maintains a nice rhythm, which is owed to the script and of course the actors. If you are willing to let yourself go with the flow of the movie, you will very much enjoy it. Actually I'm surprised that there is no plan to make a Hollywood Remake yet. On second thought though, it is pretty difficult to adapt for a mainstream audience!
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