Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

Daniel Auteuil as Antoine
Photo: Guy Ferrandis/Paramount Classics

Directed by: Pierre Salvadori.
Produced by: Philippe Martin.
Written by: Danièle Dubroux, Benoît Graffin, David Léotard & Pierre Salvadori.
Director of Photography: Gilles Henry.
Edited by: Isabelle Devinck.
Music by: Camille Bazbaz.
Released by: Paramount Classics.
Language: French with English subtitles.
Country of Origin: France. 110 min. Rated: R.
With: Daniel Auteuil, José Garcia & Sandrine Kiberlain.

Having kept his girlfriend waiting for an hour, harried waiter Antoine (Daniel Auteuil) finally gets off work and takes a short cut through a park when he notices a man (José Garcia) standing on a suitcase, noose around his neck under a tree. He forces the man, with much struggle, onto the ground. Antoine finally meets up with his girlfriend, bringing along a surprise guest, his "cousin." In fact, Antoine still doesn't know the stranger's name. In trying to do the right thing, Antoine gets the hapless Louis (still determined to off himself) a job as a sommelier and becomes a sleuth, tracking down the source of Louis' heartache, his ex-fiancée Blanche (Sandrine Kiberlain).

From the opening cartoon credits of bumbling penguins dressed as waiters to the bouncy pop soundtrack, Après Vous is light on its feet with an occasional kick (in one such instance, Louis becomes a burn victim and though all's well that ends well, Antoine's car will take a heavy bashing). Everyman Daniel Auteuil's performance remains subtle even as the results of his good deeds spin out of control. The rest of the ensemble is strong, including supporting actors Andrée Tainsy as Louis' meddlesome granny and Michèle Moretti as Antoine's skeptical boss. As Blanche ("I'm not a loose woman, but I'm easy going"), Sandrine Kiberlain brings a life and death urgency to the film as her personal affairs become quite complicated, thanks to Good Samaritan Antoine. But a little of the timid and whimpering hangdog Louis goes a long way. And after a fast-paced first half, the film drags a bit, and is about 10 minutes too long. But director Pierre Salvadori's affection for the romantic comedy genre is apparent; his use of a silhouette as an important clue during Antoine's investigation is a smart touch of Lubitsch. Kent Turner
May 26, 2005



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