Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Little Bather

Le Petit Beigneur; comedy, France, 1968; D: Robert Dhery, S: Louis de Funès, Robert Dhery, Andrea Parisy, Colette Brosset

Fourchaume is an arrogant boss and director of a company for designs and manufacture of ships and yachts. When a champaigne bottle smashes a hole in his new ship, The Unsinkable, Fourchaume gets furious at its designer, Castagnier, and fires him after a lengthy humiliation. However, Fourchaume then finds out that Castagnier's yacht The Little Bather just won at a contest and now investors want to sign lucrative deals for mass production of it. In order to gain a huge profit, Fourchaume swallows his pride and goes on to a village to beg Castagnier to return to his company. After numerous misadventures, Fourchaume gets injured and Castagnier agrees to return out of pity.

Great comedian Louis de Funes was often far better than the films he starred in, and this comedy by Robert Dhery is one of the examples: a solid, easily watchable, but also easily forgettable flick with too little jokes that will sate a comedy fan. The story about an arrogant boss who fires an employee and then suffers a twist of faith when he has to beg him to return to his company has its moments, but not enough, and is terribly overstretched and contrived at times - especially the almost 10 minute long sequence in which de Funes' character cannot control a tractor which destroys a tree and scares and sprays animals at a farm, which drags without offering a truly great punchline. The best jokes come swiftly, when you least expect them (wheelchair that can spin by 360 degrees; a champagne bottle that causes a hole in a ship called The Unsinkable; the collapsing stage in the church) and are a welcomed surprise in the otherwise thin story. The ship and yacht world was not among the best choices for the film, yet it is an overall simple and accessible piece of entertainment - with several holes in it.

Grade;+

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