My Best Friend

Oh, French cinema, how you charm and beguile us! Some time ago, French cinema gave up on being great and just decided to be very good. And My Best Friend follows this trend; there’s nothing stupendous about it, but it’s touching, manipulative, predictable and occasionally unbelievable in a way that captures what was best about Frank Capra and American midcentury corn. The always excellent Daniel Auteuil plays François, a successful antique dealer who doesn’t realize that he doesn’t have any friends. When he foolishly accepts a bet and must produce his meilleur ami to win, he goes on a friend hunt and finally settles on a nervous, trivia-obsessed cab driver, Bruno (Dany Boon). However, in the manner of all films in which a human relationship is predicated on a bet (see virtually any teen comedy from the ’80s) things go awry, and a lesson is learned. While this is all terribly trite, and the plot twists needed to get the story going are ridiculously strained, Auteuil and Boon are so touching in the lead roles, and the dialogue is so neatly evocative, that you won’t care.

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