The Valet (2006)

“The neighbours complain about your all night parties and girls shrieking in ecstasy .”

In the Valet, a French comedy from director Francis Veber (The Closet, The Dinner Game), wealthy businessman Pierre Levasseur (Daniel Auteuil) juggles wife Christine (Kristen Scott Thomas) with supermodel mistress, blonde bombshell Elena (Alice Taglioni). Elena, tired of Pierre’s promises that he’ll divorce his wife, threatens to dump him, and while he pleads for more time, a tabloid photographer snaps a tacky photo of the couple. Inadvertently, hapless car valet Francois Pignon (Gad Elmaleh) is also caught in the photo.

Eagle-eyed Christine spots the photo and questions Pierre. Pierre glibly explains that the supermodel must be with the valet. Then to cover his slimy tracks, Pierre pays Pignon to pretend to be Elena’s new lover.

Now the premise of the film may not sound very funny, but with Veber’s experienced, light touch, this is a perfect French comedy. Pignon’s new found success with the leggy supermodel creates admiration and envy at work, and meanwhile Christine (who holds the purse strings) plays a game of cat-and-mouse with her slimy spouse. Daniel Auteuil is so great in these sort of roles, and as Pierre his smile is just a little too forced, a little too set, as he frantically tries to juggle wife, mistress and competing private detectives. In French with subtitles.

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Filed under Daniel Auteuil, France

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