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Foreign Comedy - France - The Chateau

BUY The Chateau (dvd cover)
Paul Rudd, Sylvie Testud, Romany Nalco
Directed by Jesse Peretz
Alliance Atlantis
93 minutes

Le Chateau is without a doubt the ugliest movie seen in a long time. Not that the story is ugly, it\s just that it looks like somebody filmed the entire thing in super 8 and then replaced the DVD with a vcd version of it. The picture is beyond grainy, the sound badly recorded, and the directed self-indulgent.

This could have been a great comedy. The premise is excellent: mixed race American brothers inherit a chateau in France servants, bills, and all. Romany Nalco (he played MC Hammer in a TV movie) is excellent as the somewhat rich and cultured brother who wants to sell the castle and cut his losses. Paul Rudd is somewhat acceptable as the anxious slacker American who believes he can speak and understand French. The story itself is, in this 93-minute movie, think about it only 93 minutes, too long, too confusing, and, in the end, pointless.

The problem begins with the first 10 or so minutes of the movie when Graham and Allen are in the train on the way to claim their inheritance. I have yet to figure out the point of that long scene aside from character introduction. The movie begins, really, when the brothers get to the chateau in the middle of the night and are mistaken for Jehovah's Witnesses.

There then begins a series of misunderstandings when the movie tries unsuccessfully to be a romantic comedy playing up the love interests of the brother for Sylvie Testud, the maid. The real movie should have been the various bizarre stunts the servants pull to stop the brothers from selling the castle and should have played up Graham's very bad understanding of French.

The Chateau is a movie you want to watch with the English subtitles on so you can appreciate all the verbal translation and mistranslation of what could have been a very charming if not outrageous comedy. You end up watching this almost comedy for the movie it could have been and not the movie it became.



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