29
May 07

My Worst Friend

Do You See + FT3 comments • 703 views

Patrice Leconte! Daniel Auteil! Words that have shone out in the wasteland of French film for the last ten years suggesting that I may just tolerate any film they are involved in. Well they have made a misstep. An interesting misstep but a bi-left-footed dancer in hobnail boots of a misstep no less.

Mon meilleur ami (My Best Friend) is a romantic comedy. BUT the film is actually about fraternal bonding, about how we make and perpetuate friendships. Friendships are not romances though, and therefore the inherent problem with the film flags itself up at the moment you realise that this is going to be the most formulaic romantic comedy EVAH!

STEP 1: Daniel Auteil is accused of having no friends. Makes a bet that he can produce his best friend by the end of the month.
STEP 2: Realises he has no friends.
STEP 3: Employs overtly sociable cab driver to show him how to make friends.
STEP 4: Fails to make friends.
STEP 5: Realises that he is in love with in friends with the cabbie.
STEP 6: Unveils new best friend to his acquaintances. When friend realises it is set up, is no longer friend.
STEP 7: WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE.

Step 7 is perhaps a slight detour from the usual rom-com formula, but exists for a plot mandated reason which anyone will realise within one second of its theme tune appearing. What is most bizarre though is that for the film to work, it has to be complicit in the (not overly stressed) sleight-of-hand that Millionaire is a LIVE TV show. Which it isn’t. Or indeed that the usage of THAT PARTICULAR life-line confers any kind of special friendship between the ends of the phoneline.

My Best Friend is most like a rom-com when at its heart it misunderstands friendship. In the active seeking of friendship mileposts (someone who will commit a crime for you, for example) it is as far off the mark as people hating each other falling in love. And therefore this fraternal rom-com fails for being corny, unrealistic and downright stupid. And this is from the country of fraternity! Explains a lot about France.

Comments

  1. 1
    byebyepride on 29 May 2007 #

    I thought this film was dreadful from start to finish! I left to go to the toilet half-way through the ‘suspense’ of the Millionaire section, and didn’t feel remotely upset to miss the ending.

  2. 2
    byebyepride on 29 May 2007 #

    And don’t get me started on Mutual Appreciation, which I went to see yesterday! (I have not been to the cinema all year, hardly, but have discovered that I quite like it, even when the films are rub!). OK MA wasn’t dreadful, but it has really quite an interesting problem — it hovers between sympathy and piss-taking for these nauseous young scenesters. But it’s impossible (for me) to not imagine the film-makers BEING EXACTLY LIKE the characters in the film. This is the curse of lo-fi!!

  3. 3
    ledge on 30 May 2007 #

    It’s not the film that misunderstands friendship or actively seeks friendship mileposts, it’s Daniel Auteil. And STEP 5, he doesn’t realise he’s in friends with the cabbie ’cause he still hasn’t worked out what this friendship biz is all about! I enjoyed it, especially the millionaire ending – but I am a sucker and a sap and a schmuck.

    Also I was dead impresssed by the cabbie guy whose name I can’t be bothered to look up, his flustered millionaire contestant was superb.

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