Bosom Buddies 

The French do "blockbuster" differently.

A scene from The Intouchables

A scene from The Intouchables

Without adjusting for inflation, the second-highest-grossing movie in American history is Joss Whedon's superhero smorgasbord The Avengers. In contrast, the second-highest-grossing movie in French history is Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's caregiver picnic The Intouchables. Neither movie is as impressive as its box-office take, but in contrast to The Avengers' hollow, market-driven bombast, The Intouchables is pleasant and warm-hearted, if a little disingenuous.

Omar Sy plays Driss, a Senegalese man living in a crowded Parisian housing project whose irreverent antics secure him a temporary job as a personal care assistant for Philippe (François Cluzet), a wealthy quadriplegic who's lost the use of his limbs after a paragliding accident. Although Driss is grossed out by the less appealing sanitary requirements of his new gig at first ("I don't empty anyone's ass on principle," he declares), he quickly grows comfortable at his new quarters in Philippe's house. When he's not wheeling Philippe around, he paints, listens to music in his own private bathtub, and tries to seduce Magalie (Audrey Fleurot), a red-haired bombshell who dresses like the Black Widow's cooler, older sister.

As Philippe points out, his new caregiver's lack of pity for his condition is one of the main reasons they get along so well. Thanks to Philippe's sense of irony and Driss' guileless exuberance, their scenes together are simultaneously light and tough. Instead of arranging meaningful encounters that may harbor life lessons about tolerance and privilege, Nakache and Toledano discover fresh moments of male bonding, as they do in a brief scene when the two men share a joint while a hooker massages Philippe's ears — one of his few remaining erogenous zones.

Unfortunately, the movie's most crowd-pleasing moments are also its most questionable ones. Driss' suspicion of modern art and classical culture is always indulged and validated, most notably when he livens up the end of Philippe's birthday party by busting on classical music before introducing the violinists and caterers to Earth, Wind and Fire's "Boogie Wonderland." Yes, it's amusing (and fair) to point out that many people associate classical music with cartoons and commercial jingles. On the other hand, these scenes largely serve to reinforce an audience's own upper-class suspicion and resentment. It's interesting to note that when Philippe sells one of Driss' paintings for an obscene mark-up, Driss' frustrations with the subjectivity of modern art vanish, because now he gets to play Jean-Michel Basquiat for a while.

To sum up: The Intouchables is far from a bad time at the movies, but don't trust it with your valuables.

The Intouchables
Opening Friday, July 13th
Ridgeway Four

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Tags:

The Intouchables
Rated R · 112 min. · 2012
Official Site: weinsteinco.com/sites/the-intouchables
Director: Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache
Writer: Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
Producer: Yann Zenou and Laurent Zeitoun
Cast: Omar Sy, Francois Cluzet, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet, Alba-Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi, Cyril Mendy, Christian Améri, Marie-Laure Descoureaux and Grégoire Oestermann

Trailer


Now Playing

The Intouchables is not showing in any theaters in the area.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Wildlife

      Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal are a couple in crisis in Paul Dano’s directorial debut.
    • The Old Man And The Gun

      Robert Redford retires at the top of his game
    • Bohemian Rhapsody

      The Glossy Biopic Can’t Live Up To Freddy Mercury’s Legend

Blogs

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies Beat Mavericks 98-88, Tie for #1 in West

News Blog

BREAKING: Fairgrounds TDZ Wins State Approval

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Fingertrick

From My Seat

Gameday Gratitude

We Saw You

Indie Film Fest, Grilled Cheese Fest, Adapt-A-Door and more!

Tiger Blue

Tigers 109, Yale 102 (2 OT)

Tiger Blue

Tigers 28, SMU 18

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies Defeat Kings 112-104

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Addison Engelking

Readers also liked…

  • Death Grip

    Memphis filmmaker Sam Bahre talks about his 11-year struggle to create I Filmed Your Death.
    • Apr 19, 2018
  • The Lost City of Z

    A mesmerizing story of obsession in the Amazon jungle
    • May 1, 2017
  • Fifty Shades Freed

    Feature length commercial for luxury goods or chilling glimpse into the post-human future?
    • Feb 16, 2018
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation