French Film Night
The Valet – La Doublure. 2006 Comedy U rating. 86 mins
When billionaire industrialist Pierre Levasseur (Daniel Auteuil) is snapped with his mistress by the paparrazzi, he must appease his wife Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) a 60 percent stockholder in his company, so he seizes on the out of focus guy who happened to be walking by when the photo was taken. François Pignon (Gad Elmaleh) is despondent over the rejection of his marriage proposal to his childhood love Émilie (Virginie Ledoyen) who is more focused on her fledgling business than romance. When he is inexplicably offered pay to live with a supermodel he seizes the chance to prove to Émilie that he is more than just “The Valet.”
The film’s theme of masquerades and subterfuges are introduced in the very first scene as two men pull up next to each other in expensive, flashy cars, but they’re not who they appear to be. They are the valets of a Parisian hotel, François and his roommate Richard. Ingeniously, Veber will flip this charade on its head by film’s end when hotel guests and employees alike all view the valet as a playboy of the first order, just as he showcases model Elena in ironic bridal regalia as the climax of a Lagerfeld runway show attended by Christine. Wonderful running jokes, such as a house calling doctor who gets treatment from his patients or the absence or presence of curtains influence on Levasseur’s mood, are also expertly woven into the film’s fabric.
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Payment on evening please. £7.50 per person.