The Dinner Game (Le Dīner de cons) (1999)
Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 12
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Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 2
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 19,495
Francis Veber wrote and directed this film adaptation (with animated opening credits) of his own play, Le diner de cons, about a competition among a group of friends to see who can find the stupidest person to bring to dinner (as indicated by the original French title, since "con" means someone who's a total dumbbell). The dinners are held each Wednesday night, and French publisher Pierre Brochant (Thierry Lhermitte) has found a world class nincompoop -- Finance Ministry accountant Francois
Jul 16, 1999 Limited
Apr 25, 2000
Lions Gate Films Inc.
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Despite the stagey set-up (it was originally conceived as a play and it shows), the film manages to maintain its humor and energy until the final scene in which Veber suddenly casts aside his delightful meanspiritedness and gets soft-hearted and preachy.
Some realist nuances in the characters' behavior become more intriguing than the belabored humor.
A sip of sparkling champagne in a moviegoing summer of mostly cheap red wine for teenage winos.
The leads fill out their archetypes comfortably, the timing's well pitched, and the narrative moves busily enough. Cinematically, though, there's little of interest.
Scared of sophisticated French cinema? This coarse comedy will restore your confidence.
Its very tautness and on-the-money performances from the odd-coupled Jacques Villeret and Thierry Lhermitte help make this a highly amusing and old-fashioned big-screen entertainment.
If you don't like this type of movie to begin with (I don't), you won't be converted this time around.
An idiot is exactly what you'll be if you don't check out The Dinner Game.
Villeret, a fixture in French films for two decades, is short, squat, a little bug-eyed and able to completely twist the not-so-good intentions of his host.
Farce is usually equated with slapstick, but here the comedy is distinctly one of wits, slowly building momentum to a satisfying finish.
Veber directs with the involving, blurry speed of a shuffled deck of cards, which is about as long as The Dinner Game lingers on screen and in the memory.
Veber builds and sustains an enjoyably frantic pace, his physical gags are clever and imaginative, and it's always fun to watch an arrogant smartie get his comeuppance at the hands of the lovable fool.
Veber's film offers all the undemanding, solidly old-fashioned pleasures of a traditionally well-crafted French farce.
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