Apres Vous

Daniel Auteuil

Apres Vous (After You)
Made in: France
Language: French
Director: Pierre Salvadori
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, José Garcia, Sandrine Kiberlain, Marilyne Canto, Andrée Tainsy
Year: 2003

Synopsis: Antoine (Daniel Auteuil) is the over-worked but dedicated maître d' of the upscale Chez Jean restaurant in Paris. While walking home one night, he saves Louis (José Garcia) from committing suicide. Louis is an emotionally needy loser who's just been dumped by his girlfriend, Blanche (Sandrine Kiberlain), who's a florist.

Out of pity, Antoine decides to help Louis get back on his feet, much to the displeasure of Christine (Marilyne Canto), Antoine's own long-time girlfriend. But Louis latches onto him, and Antoine finds himself trying to fix the other man's life. He goes out of his way to get Louis a job as a sommelier at the restaurant, then plots to get Louis back together with Blanche.

But Blanche has romantic troubles of her own, and Antoine finds himself becoming her confidant as well. But things get messy when Antoine begins falling in love with Blanche, and he finds himself going to ridiculous lengths in order to keep things under control.

The Good: Daniel Auteuil once again proves himself as an appealing comedy actor with a down-to-earth look and natural charisma. His facial expressions and gift of comedy through understatement are spot on. Jose Garcia is believable as the emotionally fragile Louis, and generally plays well off of Auteuil. Louis' grandmother, played by the late and venerable Andrée Tainsy, is as witty as ever (she was 92 when the film was made).

There are several clever and hilarious moments throughout, and Apres Vous is definitely a movie that keeps you guessing on how things will turn out in the end.

The Bad: However, Apres Vous frequently drags, and doesn't make good use of its long running time. There are too many twists and turns, resulting in character arcs that are more rushed than convincing when they are completed.

And at times, Jose Garcia's character gets a little irritating. Louis' lack of self-confidence and awkwardness sometimes crosses the line from funny to cringe-worthy, and there isn't much about him to root for aside from the fact that he's heartbroken. Louis is also inconsistent, and his transformation from being a total mess to regaining self-confidence isn't all that satisfying.

Problematic of all is the lack of chemistry between Daniel Auteuil and Sandrine Kiberlain. Although Kiberlain is a good actress, her character is too flat and dreary. Blanche isn't very dynamic, and it's hard to figure out just what it is that makes her so desirable to so many suitors.

Who would like this movie: Apres Vous is for you if you like foreign films, Paris, fine wines, and a light romantic comedy. Although some of the humor is definitely solid, it's not one of the better comedies which Daniel Auteuil has starred in. For the most part, it's too slow, unevenly paced and doesn't quite work as a charming love triangle story.

(2 and 1/2 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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