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MY BEST FRIEND, 2006
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Directed by: Patrice Leconte

Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Dany Boon, Julie Gayet, Julie Durand, Henri Garcin
Review by Jarred Thomas


SYNOPSIS:

Catherine, refuses to believe that her business partner, the unlikeable François, has a best friend, so she challenges him to set up an introduction. Scrambling to find someone willing to pose as his best pal, François enlists the services of a charming taxi driver to play the part.

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REVIEW:

Francois is a successful antique dealer whose personality is an acquired taste, but one that no one has a taste for, leaving Francois without any friends. Yet he believes, at least he convinced himself, that he does, and in fact has a best friend. Catherine, his business partner, says he doesn’t, and during a dinner party challenges Francois to a friendly bet. One he is quick to take.

The bet is simple. Francois must produce a best friend to her in the next 10 days. If he fails, then the 16th century vase he impulsively purchased will be hers, and if he wins, then he keeps it. Francois has little connection with people and struggles to develop one throughout the film.

However, he seeks the aid of a friendly taxi driver, Bruno, who helps Francois with his daughter who suffers from allergies. Noticing that Bruno is open to help, the duo explores Francois past friends, or people he claims are friends, to see which one is the best. He realizes that none of them are actually friends, but there is a connection Bruno.

Bruno becomes his teacher, advising him on how to be social. What happens next are a series of humorous failures as Francois tries desperately to see if he can be social, but no, he can’t. He intervenes during a sports game, bothers a painter working, and scares off a mother with her baby in a stroller. All while Bruno watches on from the side, cringing at the sight.

It’s really a charming film. One that if in the hands of Hollywood would have all start cast that would be more about actors than the story. Or it would simply be melodramatic. The message, or soul of the film would be missing, and that’s why it’s so effective because it never loses sight of its story and keeps the entertainment fresh in the dialogue and characters. Not in the cheap laughs or exploitation of lonely people looking for friendship.

The premise is simple, yet somewhat unbelievable. The way a certain character uses the other to prove a point at the end felt out of place, and something that was not necessary. But it worked, and the ending was touching with Bruno realizing his dream by being a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It’s a captivating and exciting moment to watch.

There’s character develop, mostly from Francois, a few clichés, tears, and laughs, but an honest film that tells the story of two people who find friendship. My Best Friend is not great, but there are plenty of nice moments with funny lines throughout with exceptional acting from the two leads and supporting cast. Well worth your time.

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