Directed by: Francis Vebe
Written by:Francis Vebe
Starring: Richard Berry, Patrick Timsit, Pascal Elbe, Virginie Ledoyen, Laurent Paolini, Michel Aumont
Released: April 9, 2009
Grade: B+

The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival recently wrapped up here in Brisbane and over 30 films were shown. Judging from the lengthy queues at the candy bar and the large audiences within the theatres, it was a big success. As is the custom, a few of the more high profile films from the festival will receive a national release over the coming weeks.

One of those has a particularly memorable title – A Pain In The Ass. I’m certain that a few cinemagoers will have fun going up to the counter and asking for their ticket to this particular film.

The title says it all. Ralf Milan (Berry) is a hitman who has been paid to eliminate a notorious gangster who will be testifying against the Mob. Ralf believes he has the perfect plan. He’s hired a hotel room with a perfect view of the courthouse. When the mobster turns up with his police escort, Ralf will take aim with his rifle and fire away.

There’s one thing he hasn’t counted on. In the room next door is a lonely, suicidal guy by the name of Francois Pignon (Timsit). His wife (Ledoyen) recently left him for another man and his life has been a mess ever since. When Francois tries to hang himself in the shower, it starts off a series of events that will make it more and more difficult for him to complete his assignment.

This is a rather amusing French buddy comedy with some laugh out loud scenes and an interesting assortment of characters. It was well received at the Festival and I think it is a movie you need to see in a packed theatre to help get you in the mood for the farcical storyline. Laughter is contagious, is it not?

Those more knowledgeable movie buffs might realise this is a remake of another French film from 1973. The screenwriter of the original film was Francis Veber and after 35 years, he has returned to act as both writer and director of this adaptation. In the interim, he has penned a few popular French flicks including The Closet, The Dinner Game and La Cage aux folles (later adapted into The Birdcage).

It’s a little too silly at times but I’m still recommending this for those looking for a chuckle over the Easter holidays. Provided you don’t get sit next to a couple who talk throughout the entire movie, it should be anything but a pain in ass.