LA CHEVRE (France, 1981)
Original comedy-farce made by Francis Veber. The accident-prone daughter of a Parisian tycoon disappears in Mexico. Police investigations and those of private eye Gerard Depardieu fail. The psychologist of the father's firm suggests sending back Depardieu with Pierre Richard, a bumbling, klutzy accountant even more accident-prone than the missing girl.
The kooky theory is the variant of "set a thief to catch a thief." It works, but not before a steady series of gags and incidents, some hilarious and imaginative, all well-timed. The teaming of the searchers is inspired.
Richard, in top form, is comically insufferable as he believes that he is Depardieu's boss. His stubborn, absent-minded naivete gets him into impossible situations. Suffering Depardieu shows again a genuine talent for farce, but in a different vein, infinitely more restrained than his outrageous playing in provocative sex comedies.
Although comic French cinema does not have the standing of the Big Three productions (America, England and Italy), for a commercial product by a non-auteur filmmaker this film is inventive and fast-paced enough to stand comparison with non-French "comedies loufoques"(crewball comedies).
The title means "the goat", like a goat set as wolf-bait. The film has excellent subtitles. It was also written by Francis Veber who holds a record for Hollywood remakes of his movies. The remakes are all inferior to the originals. Among them Veber's 'The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe" (also starring Pierre Richard) remade into a weak comedy with Tom Hanks, "The Man With One Red Shoe." Ten years after "La Chevre" came out, it was redone as "Pure Luck." The picture was directed by Australian Nadia Tass, starred Martin Short and Danny Glover. It was awful.
Copyright © Edwin Jahiel
Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel