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Antoine (Daniel Auteuil), Maitre d' at the classy Chez Jean brasserie in Paris, is on his way to his girlfriend Christine's (Marilyn Canto) one night, and on a short cut through the park finds a young man about to hang himself. He saves the lovelorn Louis (Jose Garcia), and even takes him home, caring and principled man that he is. He does all he can, even helps land Louis the job as sommelier at Chez Jean (a big ask considering Louis knows zero about wine) but Louis remains fixated with Blanche (Sandrine Kiberlain), who dumped him. Antoine secretly tracks Blanche down at her florist shop, and as he manoeuvres a reconciliation, he finds himself smitten by Blanche himself, even as Blanche is on the verge of marrying Andre (Fabio Zenoni). This delicate situation is compounded by Christine, of course, and by his feelings of guilt.

Review by Louise Keller:
He just can't help being a do-gooder, and Daniel Auteuil's Antoine lives his life trying to fix everyone else's problems. Whether it is a customer at the restaurant who hasn't received his meal, a colleague who needs a hand, or a total stranger about to commit suicide, Antoine is on the case. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and Antoine is well on the way. By contrast, José Garcia's Louis is a hopeless case. Totally lacking in self-confidence, when his girlfriend Blanche (Sandrine Kiberlain) calls their relationship off, he is ready to end it all.

A delicious comedy of errors, Après Vous is a buddy movie about two opposites thrown together by guilt and circumstance who inadvertently change each other's lives and perspectives. Add the complication of a beautiful woman who is the object of desire for both men, and you have all the ingredients for a lively romp. Exploring the fine line between happiness and despair and being in charge of your life as opposed to allowing life to knock you around, the film skillfully plays with the fragility of our emotions.

Filled with funny situations that are often borderline farcical, director Pierre Salvadori, whose black comedy Wild Target remains a favourite, elegantly balances the ridiculous with the profound, as the two central characters impact on each others' lives. When we first meet Antoine, superficially he seems to have it all: a responsible job, respect from his colleagues and a happy relationship at home. Louis has none of these things, but as we get to know both men, we realise that neither circumstance has permanence. I love the scene when Antoine sets up Louis' interview for the position of sommelier at the restaurant. Anyone who enjoys playing charades will relate to the moment when Antoine is trying to help Louis correctly answer which food should best accompany a particular white wine. Hilarity ensues as Auteuil's desperate attempts at suggesting a lobster are misinterpreted for venison.

Roles become reversed as Louis gains confidence, while Antoine learns the meaning of love. All in the setting of a busy brasserie and a colourful flower shop. The joys of the film lie in the constantly shifting balance of emotions. At times the humour may be a bit stretched, taking the comedy a little further than the credible, but the performances are so delightful, I enjoyed the ride. Antoine and Louis become indebted to one another, but not for the reasons they expect. Après Vous will whet your appetite for life and laughter.

Published June 30, 2005

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CAST: Daniel Auteuil, José Garcia, Sandrine Kiberlain, Maryline Canto, Michelè Moretti, Garance Clavel, Fabio Zenoni

PRODUCER: Philippe Martin

DIRECTOR: Pierre Salvadori

SCRIPT: Benoît Graffin, David Léotard, Pierre Salvadori (idea Danièle Dubroux)


EDITOR: Isabelle Devinck

MUSIC: Camille Bazbaz


RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 16, 2004


SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical trailer


DVD RELEASE: June 29, 2005

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