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Dany Boon’s box-office hit is the most successful French movie of all time. In just seven weeks on release, it broke 1966 comedy La Grande Vadrouille’s record for the highest ever attendance for a French film on home soil with 17 million tickets sold. Given that pedigree it’s a big surprise how middle-of-the-road this farce is. Essentially it’s the same joke told over and over and over and over again and it’s not even a good or original joke.
The French make fun of people who live in the far north of the country near Calais because it’s cold, the people are basic and the people talk in a hard-to-comprehend dialect (Ch’ti). Philippe Abrams (Kad Merad) works in a post office in the sunny south and when he’s caught lying on an application form for a transfer, his punishment is to be sent to the town of Bergues, in the far, far north. Predictably, he finds that the people of the north (former stand-up comedian turned director Boon plays one of the locals) are actually nice and it’s not so cold or bad. Boon thinks it funny to leave the boom in shot all the time. It isn’t. Indeed, little in this drivel is funny.
Selected release from Fri 9 May.