The gang is back, leaving Paris' fading Sentier district for the thriving suburb of Aubervilliers, where they must share the market with Chinese wholesalers. All's well until they fall victim to the local Mafioso's scheme.
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The gang is back in this third installment, and they've left Paris' fading Sentier textile district, deciding to set up shop in the thriving suburb of Aubervilliers. However, the old Jewish entrepreneurs who once controlled the textile game in this area have given up their hold to young, dynamic Chinese wholesalers who aren't so eager to share the market. Nonetheless, all adjust to their new setting and find their place and pleasure, willingly settling into routine until things go awry; Simon, a local Mafioso, has malicious plans landing them in trouble with customs, and the group's cohesion compromised. Even so, they rally together and form a plan of their own, teaming up with the Chinese to exact revenge. Written by
The enthusiasm is still catching but the heart is not in it...
By the time the third "Would I Lie to You" was released, the first two were established classics of French comedy, and characters like Serge Benamou (Jose Garcia) or Patrick Abitbol (Gilbert Melki) unavoidable figures of French pop-culture. And I'm sure about one thing: when a film or a series manages to reach such a high level of popularity, there's a responsibility pending over the director, the writers and the actors. If you can't make something as good as the first ones, then don't touch it.
Many great French comedies were sadly spoiled by a needless sequel, one that didn't respect the characters, the spirit of the first film(s) and ultimately, the audience. But a few privileged ones managed to get a good second opus; I even thought "Would I Le to You 2" was one of the best French comedies of recent years. There's nothing to change in that film: the situations were funny in a believable way, there was no time wasted in pointless subplots, each characters went through his own journey and by the end, they found the strength in unity and friendship to get the bad guy.
Unfortunately, the third opus needed improvement, a lot of improvement. It seems like everyone was in such a rush to complete the picture that no one spent time in the editing room, probably the film's most blatant weakness. Some shots were so unnecessary I couldn't believe they were left in the film. Serge Benamou celebrates his parents' Golden Anniversary (in fact, they've been married for 44 years and the gag is mildly funny) and he steals money from his own mother's purse to pay
the singer (Dany Brilliant). Why do we have to see the mother weeping for the money after? The scene then ends as abruptly as if it was cut before the moment where someone was smiling.
I can count countless unnecessary shots like that. As a matter of fact, I can count also two unnecessary subplots. This is a film that deals with five guys, Eddie (Richard Anconina) has enough trouble with the Chinese market that kicked the Jewish manufacturers out of the business (except that he's not Jewish), Dov and Ivan have a record to settle on their common love interest Karine (Aure Atika), indeed, why should have Ivan stopped to love her and why would Dov stop to be a womanizer, especially when he's played again by handsome Vincent Elbaz? Patrick falls in love with his tax auditor (Lea Drucker) and pretends to be poor. And the last subplot involves Serge's marital troubles and difficulties to give a child to Shoshana and a heir to his father-in-law.
Those were pretty interesting subplots because they dealt with characters we CARE about, and we want to see them overcome their problems. But what does exactly make Shoshana's father or Sandra interesting? Maurice's accidental amnesia inspired a few comical moments but it flirted with the kind of nonsensical clichés you expect from a soap opera, not a realistic comedy. The punch line wasn't even funny, mildly amusing and too predictable. But the most unnecessary subplot was Sandra's ambitions to study again; this is not only a lousy woman-power cliché but also one that distracts you from the main plot without contributing to it (and it could). Amira Casar is beautiful but nothing has been done to make us care anytime about her personal ambitions.
This 'studies' subplot seemed to go somewhere, showing the lack of support from Eddie, an upcoming crisis, she even misses an exam because of his carelessness, but there's no quarrel and then no resolution about it. And at the end, she passes the exam, and that's it. Why on earth did the director leave these parts? It's just as if he thought the viewers were so eager to see these guys again (and it's true) that he had to take the most of all the characters without paying no attention to the screenplay and director Thomas Gilou had enough of a plot to work on. The scheme made up by Eddie is nothing short of a business masterstroke, one that cleverly uses the Chinese market competition and the Internet technology, and when we get it, it almost redeems all the previous flaws, except that it comes too early, the film still has twenty minutes to drag on. And the bad guys were surprisingly weak, not in the same caliber than the evil retailer, whose demise was rewarding.
The antagonist here is a small time crook played again by Marc Andreoni, and a Chinese manufacturer who (I couldn't believe it) had to play Kung Fu, how did they think this could be viewed as funny? There are too many cringe worthy moments like this, in fact too many things happening that you lose track and interest, and it's like the writers didn't care. Many problems are solved in the most anticlimactic way, Maurice is cured from his amnesia and a pregnant Shoshana totally forgets about Serge's previous actions. As a matter of fact, Serge gets off pretty easy considering the gravity of some moves he makes during the film, and I'm not sure I like the way he evolved. I guess I'd rather have him being a lovable loser than an unlikable winner.
This is a film that had a true potential, the actors played their part fairly well, but there were too few brilliant moments (I loved the Shabbat prayer in Chinese fashion by TV star Cyril Hanouna, the expected "Yallah" in the airport ) for too much cringe-worthy ones. But I still loved to see these guys again, as if they were part of the family, as the tag-line says, I missed them but so did the director who missed the editing. And my disappointment is only proportional to the admiration I felt toward the two others. Their enthusiasm is still catching but obviously, the heart was not in it.
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