A review of “My Best Friend” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: PG-13 for mature themes. In French with English subtitles

Run Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

 

 

Daniel Auteuil charms his way through Patrice Leconte’s easy-on-the-emotions dramedy.

Francois (Auteuil) is a successful antiques dealer who appears to have it all – stylish digs, a satisfying sex life and a thriving business. But according to his acquaintances there is one thing Francois doesn’t have: friends.

Apparently the rest of the world views Francois as demanding, arrogant and petty. A cutthroat businessman and an indifferent employer who doesn’t understand the meaning of true friendship.

Francois insists that he has many close friends and can prove it so beautiful business partner Catherine (Julie Gayet) makes him a bet: produce his best friend or she keep the valuable Greek vase the pair recently acquired for the business.

Pas un problème! Francois thumbs through his address book and starts making calls. And visits. To anyone and everyone who will listen and admit that they like him. Unfortunately the only viable candidate is a total stranger; a big-hearted trivia-spouting cabbie named Bruno (Dany Boon) who’s hungry for his own bonds.

A relationship slowly develops as does an obvious trajectory. The pacing is awkward, the scripting trite (“Smile and the world smiles with you”) and the narrative pure formula. But beneath the observable veneer is a surprisingly thoughtful reflection on family, companionship and loneliness.

Chemistry between leads is a delight; a delicious pas de deux linking outsiders seeking a connection. The big news is Boon, a loveable lunk with a sensual smile and extraordinary depth. His insecure blue-collar drone could have gone the route of one-note booby prize but is infected with a joie de vivre that renders the project far more than a stock buddy picture.

Bottom line a breezy and poignant charmer.