|Star:||Jean Reno, Christian Clavier, Valérie Lemercier, Marie-Anne Chazel|
|Cert / Year:||15 - R / 1993|
After distinguishing himself protecting the king the medevil knight Sir Godefroy de Papincourt, Comte de Montmirail (Jean Reno) is given leave to marry his sweetheart. Unfortunately on his way to meet her a witch casts a spell on him and he shoots her father through the head with his crossbow. With his love lost he seeks the help of a wizard who promises him that he can transport him back in time to fix his mistake. However things do not go to plan and instead of the past both Sir Godefroy and his disgusting knave Jacquouille la Fripouille (Christian Clavier) are transport forward in time to the present day. It really is going to be a hard day for the knight, as he must master the future to reach the past.
Les Visiteurs is one of the best comedies ever to come out of France. In fact it is an excellent comedy in any country, and this lead to it being one of the most popular French movies of all time. A sort of Blackadder meets Monty Python it is the ultimate fish out of water comedy.
The comedy is key to this film and it works thanks to a great story and good jokes. The comedy does not only come from the main characters having to cope with the modern world. Although this leads to great scenes where they attack a car, wash in a toilet, and learn to cope with electric lights and the phone. On another level humour comes from being mistaken for descendants. Jacquouille descendant now own the castle which is now an hotel. Yet more is derived from the fact that French revolution meant that servants now have rights. It is great to watch Sir Godefroy slowly lose control of his knave as Jacquouille realises that because of the jewels he stole he is now rich. Taken as a whole is story is well crafted and the humour beautifully layered and full credit must be given to Christian Clavier and Jean-Marie Poiré for delivering a fine script. It ensures that with multiple viewings new jokes are there to be discovered.
A good script need a good cast and as luck would have it this script has. Jean Reno is as usual impressive as knight out of his day. He plays things straight but just a little larger than life. This really works well with Christian Clavier's buffoonish character (Baldrick anyone!). In fact Christian Clavier plays two characters. The dirty oafish knave Jacquouille to his own descendant the snobby rude neuvo riche Jacquart he plays both roles perfectly to maximum comic effect. The supporting cast consist of some well known in France actors \ actresses and all give a good account of themselves. With Valérie Lemercier and Marie-Anne Chazel being the pick of the crop.
On the down side, well there isn't really much. The special effects sometimes aren't that special, but they are not essential to the story so therefore aren't that important.
Les Visiteurs is a great comedy movie. It is packed full of laughs and will appeal to all those who find Blackadder funny. This is due to the fine script and the combined talents of Jean Reno and especially Christian Clavier. The direction is slick and the locations are lovely in a very French way. In short this film deserved the world-wide acclaim it got. People should not be put off the film because it is not in English, because the American remake Just Visiting was an utter mess. There is a Les Visiteurs 2 and I will review it when I am able to get my hands on it.
They weren't born yesterday.
|4 : 3||Cropped, chopped and grainy. Better than VHS but only just.|
|Dual Mono||Clear but not upto much being mono|
|Disappointing poor full screen picture with burnt on subtitles, plain sound, and few extras. It's good to see this film on disc but it should have been so much better.|