My Best Friend aka Mon meilleur ami
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (12th November 2007).
The Film

At a dinner party, an art collector, Francois (Daniel Auteuil) is told he has no friends. He protests and bets a very expensive vase that he will show them his best friend in the next 10 days. Having no friends, he quickly enlists the help of a sociable, trivia-loving cab driver, Bruno (Dany Boon), he met by chance the day before. The lessons in making friends are funny and insightful.

The writing is very sharp and the comments made about people, trust and friendship are quite interesting. Poor Francois, he's a very successful man but he can't even get anybody to listen to him. Bruno's tips (and their outcome) keep you interested and keep the laughs going. Unfortunately, though, some of the jokes don't translate too well. For example, Burno's last name is 'Bouley', though it's translated in the subtitles to 'Balanchain', to try to make a joke work. Needless to say, the gag works much better in French. A few other times near the start of the movie, the play on words gets tricky to translate. However, the tone and the actors make the movie enjoyable as well.

Mr. Auteuil is great in this role. He has a dear-caught-in-headlights look that perfectly encapsulates his character and gives the audience everything they have to know. Mr. Boon ably helps out and is quite believable in his talky role. The two have great chemistry together and when the second act finishes, you understand both characters perfectly.

Never forgetting it's a comedy, the movie's tone never changes much. It gets a bit more dramatic at the end, and the climax, during the airing of the French version of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?', though completely impossible, is very appropriate. The movie has a heart, which is often hard to find in comedies. It brings everything together, makes the characters appreciate what they have, and makes the viewer appreciate what they've seen. Patrice Leconte again makes an enjoyable and touching movie.

Video

2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Here's where the quality of the presentation doesn't impress me. I don't personally like the look of digital video, and this presentation suffers as a result of the lower-grade cameras they used. It doesn't look horrible, but it does look noisy and somewhat soft. Backgrounds are pretty rough and give way to some noise. The colours are well reproduced and the foregrounds are well done. It's a proper transfer, so that's good. The picture isnít horrible, but with a better source, it could look better.

Audio

The movie comes in a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and it's an adequate track considering this is a comedy. The movie is mostly dialogue and it's mostly clear. A few times, I had a hard time hearing what they were saying because the volume was a bit low, but the problem doesn't occur more than once or twice. The score is pretty subtle and comes mostly from the front. The rears aren't used all that much, though here and there they're used for ambiance. The sounds are all clear, which is the most important thing.
English, English HoH and Spanish subtitles are present.

Extras

The disc has a featurette, The Making of 'My Best Friend' (26:18). It's a nice making of with a lot of behind the scenes footage. The director and the actors talk about the movie's genesis, casting and roles. They also talk about the shooting. Other than that, you see various scenes being shot, like the scene where Francois learns he has no friends, and a few of the conversations between Francois and Bruno.

A Theatrical Trailer (2:31) is next and basically finishes the extas of the disc. It's a very nice trailer. It shows you the setup and a few very nice gags. It prepares you very well for the movie. I saw this trailer on another DVD and I was glad when I had the chance to watch the movie.

There are also a few Start-up Trailers: 'Pierrepoint - The Last Hangman' (2:21), 'This Is England' (2:29), 'After the Wedding' (2:18), 'Private Fears in Public Places' (1:54).

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: B- Audio: B- Extras: C- Overall: B-

 


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