The Dinner Game
(Dîner de cons, Le )
Date: April 29, 2000
Directors: Francis Veber
Official Website: Dinner Game
Remember back in grade school, there was always a person, or group of people who were perpetually made fun of, picked on, isolated, or even mocked, just because they were different. The Kick Me signs, tripping with a handful of books etc, were just a few ways that those who felt superior chose to demean those who were a bit different in what they chose to believe or do. The Dinner Game focuses on an adult version of this same kind of prejudice. The movie is centered on an idiot dinner: a dinner where one person brings someone who is seemingly less intelligent, or that can talk for hours about something that normal people couldnt possibly be interested in. However the majority of the movie actually deals with one instance of a man, his idiot, and the madness that ensues because of him. It is predictable, to American, and probably international audiences. However, if done well, predictability, and improbability can be overshadowed.
Brochant is in search of an idiot, and gets him via an acquaintance that bumps into Pignon on a train. Pignon loves to talk about his matchstick structures and is ecstatic when Brochant, a publisher, is interested in him. Brochant however becomes laid up after a golfing accident, and decides to survey his idiot before the dinner, and see if hes worthy. What follows is a series of circumstances, involving wives, mistresses, best-friends, tax auditors etc, some of which will have you laughing, as his friend does in a memorable seen that self-destructs before our eyes. Other examples may even have you cringing, in the same way as if you hear someone restart an already running car.
The message in the end is rather predictable, dont judge a book until youve opened it up and read it a little bit. You may be right, but you just never know. While the events may seem a tad forced, or improbable, the effect of the movie, and watching the cataclysmic house of dominoes cave in, is oddly entertaining. The movie was done by the man who wrote La Cage Aux Folles (along with its American counterpart The Birdcage), and directed the lighthearted but wonderfully sweet Three Fugitives. He, again, shows a deft comic touch with timing, delivery and dialogue, stumbling only when he asks us to believe a bit much in coincidence
Ultimately, The Dinner Game is an innocently enjoyable perspective on judging people before getting to know them. Foreign filmmakers have the patience when telling a story, which makes it more entertaining to watch sometimes. While this rehashed story does have a fairly predictible journey, and conclusion, it does show heart while getting there. Take a second look, and a listen to that person that you may initially dismiss on first glance. Also, take a look at this movie; you may be surprised at how much you enjoy it. ($$$ out of $$$$)
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