Paramount Home Video presents
Après vous (2005)
"I'm not an easy girl."- Blanche (Sandrine Kiberlain)
Stars: Daniel Auteuil, Jose Garcia, Sandrine Kiberlain
Other Stars: Marilyne Canto, Michele Moretti, Garance Clavel
Director: Pierre Salvadori
MPAA Rating: R for (language)
Run Time: 01h:50m:32s
Release Date: 2005-11-08
DVD ReviewActor Daniel Auteuil is one of the most recognizable, renowned French actors in the world. He is best known in the US for the films The Girl on the Bridge and The Widow of St. Pierre, but he has also starred in the international hits The Closet and Queen Margot. He headlines the cast of 2003's Après Vous, which finally got a stateside theatrical release in 2005, and is now making its DVD debut, courtesy of Paramount Home Video.
Après Vous is a light-hearted French-language comedy about Antoine (Auteuil), the maitre d' at an upscale restaurant. One night he is on his cell phone, when he happens to see Louis (Jose Garcia) attempting suicide. After saving Louis, he has no choice but to take this poor man in. After hearing Louis' story about how his lover, Blanche (Sandrine Kiberlain), has left him, Antoine vows to help him win her back.
After landing Louis a job at his restaurant, Antoine turns his attention to tracking Blanche down. However, he's not ready for what he finds. She is a gorgeous florist, and instantly, he's finds he's falling for her. Blanche soon realizes that she has the same feelings for Antoine, but he is torn between being with his new love and staying true to his new friend.
Seeing a main character caught up in a series of lies that lead to some zany comedy can be fun. However, in Après Vous, Auteuil's character is lying all of the time, with lie upon lie mounting, along with the level of potential trouble he puts himself in with everyone he knows. This is particularly catastrophic when it comes to his relationship with his girlfriend, as one of those lies accidentally becomes a marriage proposal. It's slapstick silliness like this that takes the film down a notch, especially when the initial story seems compelling enough.
Every twist in this love story is telegraphed. While it's not 100% clear as to who will end up with whom, the various characters falling in and out of love won't fool anyone. There's a nice little twist at the end, but again, if you've ever seen a romantic comedy, either the international or Hollywood variety, you won't exactly be sitting in shock as the end credits roll.
We're supposed to care for the Blanche character, especially after she catches her fiancée cheating on her when Antoine first finds her at the flower shop. As the film progresses, it becomes virtually impossible to care for her, as, since she can't bear the thought of being alone, she is constantly going back to her fiancée. Blanche is one of the weaker female characters I've seen in quite some time, as this seemingly integral character serves as nothing more than a pawn to complicate Antoine and Louis' dynamic relationship.
Après Vous is worth a look, though, as there are some very funny moments, most of which involve antics at the restaurant. Louis' first day on the job finds him spilling wine everywhere, and even plunging a cork through a wine bottle while he's trying to open it. The funniest bit finds Auteuil at his comedic best, when, near the end of the film, and in the midst of a nervous breakdown, he drinks a bit too much wine on the job and is eventually treating a lobster like a pet. You can't knock Auteuil for trying, as he really seems to be having fun. It's just too bad the rest of the cast (and the writers) weren't having more fun themselves.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C-
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it is a very clean transfer, with sharp and detailed images throughout . The colors are flawless, rendered to be nicely bright and vivid. Solid blacks and contrast levels help the transfer along, while there isn't much at all in the way of dirt or grain.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: There's both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 track, and the 5.1 is definitely the one to listen to. The best that an audio presentation for a light hearted French comedy can do is provide error-free sound, and that is definitely the case here. There's just enough directionality and bass to put the 5.1 above the 2.0, with both tracks featuring excellent dialogue clarity.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Oprah Winfrey Show: 20th Anniversary DVD Collection, Mad Hot Ballroom, Winter Solstice, Schultze Gets the Blues, The Machinist
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: The only extras on this disc are previews for other Paramount Home Video releases.
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsAprès Vous is one of the lesser foreign films I've encountered stateside in quite some time, but if you're a fan of Daniel Auteuil, this disc is worth a spin. The audio and video are solid, but there aren't any extras to enjoy after the film is over.
Chuck Aliaga 2005-11-07