Dinner Game

Nobody in the world can make a farce like the French. Dinner Game is the latest movie from french director Francis Veber, who also did Les Cages Aux Folles (The Birdcage). Every week, five well to do french businessmen get together for their 'idiot dinner.' Each one invites an idiot that they found the preceding week, and the person who brings the most idiotic person wins.

Jacques Villeret is the idiot, Francois Pignon, a tax man who loves to build and talk about his scale match stick models in his spare time. He totes around pictures of the models he has built, which include the Eiffel Tower and a large number of bridges. This week, he is to be big time publisher Pierre Bronchant's (Thierry Lhermitte) idiot. Unfortunately, things never get that far. Before the dinner, Bronchant unexpectedly hurts his back. Before he can contact Pignon, Pignon shows up at his apartment. Saying anything else about the plot will ruin the rest of the movie. But this is a french farce, so you can expect one mistake after another, each funnier than the last, and each one cascading upon the last, until you approach the ridiculous. At one point in the movie, Bronchant's friend arrives, and can't help but laugh uncontrollably at what is going on around him, and you can't help but laugh with him.

Villeret, with his frizzy hair and crazed expressions, is perfect as Pignon. Alexandra Vandernoot (from the Highlander television series), Catherine Frot, and Francis Huster also star. Dinner Game has very few sets and probably less than 10 speaking parts, but this isn't a simple movie. It relies on Veber's script and Villeret's comic timing to work, and it does work. Pignon, while trying to help, keeps saying and doing the wrong things at the wrong time. The concept of inviting idiots to dinner seems pretty mean spirited at first, but the ensuing events that occur throughout the entire movie more than make up for the fact that Bronchant is a jerk. But overall, the general tone of the movie is light and fun.

Mongoose Rates it: Pretty Good
1 hour, 20 minutes, French with English subtitles, Rated PG-13 for some talk about adultery.

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