Written by Nobuhiro Hosoki
Director Francois Verber (The Dinner Game, La Cage Aux Folles) still reamins enormously well-known in France, with more than 30 films procuded from his screenplays. His recent success, "The Dinner Game," took home three Cesar Awards, including best screenplay. He comes up with another winner in "The Valet," a cheeky comedy about Francois (Gad Elmaleh), a hopeless, but loveable valet who parks luxurious cars at a restaurant across from the Eiffel Tower.
Of course, this valet can barely afford to keep a roof over his head, but his mundane life is about to change, as he scrapes together enough from his modest salary to buy a engagement ring to propose to his sweetheart, Emillie (Virginie Ledoyen). Unfortunately she's very hesitant to marry the guy because she has taken out a substantial loan to open a bookstore. So she declines his offer and wants to break off their relationship.
But just as Francois thinks he's down on his luck, he stumbles onto a scandalous picture of the married billionaire, Pierre (Daniel Auteuil), with his secret mistress, the supermodel Elena (Alice Taglioni). The photo had been taken by some annoying paparazzi. Pierre is panic-stricken thinking of the reaction of his calculating maiden wife (Kristin Scott Thomas). At the suggestion of his infinitely resourceful lawyer, he schemes Francois into playing his part as Elena's boyfriend so as to put the press off long enough to buy time.
It's a perfect solution for Pierre, since Francois will never figure out what to do with her because he is hopelessly involved in a situation with Emillie. There are two problems, however. Pierre has to persuade Elena, for 20 million francs, to move in with a stranger, which she is reluctant to do so, and he has to mollify his wife, who is also rich and powerful and a major stockholder in his company.
From here on, jealousy and wackiness ensue. The film cashes in on jokes that keep coming and are fun to sit through. Thanks to an ensemble of decent actors. Daniel Auteuil can portray the lighter side of a character that is an egoistic human rodent. Director Verber proves himself as a master of his genre. But the main reason for this film's charm is due to the presence of Gad Elmaleh, whose sad sack yet lovable character captures the hearts of the audience.
Written and directed by Francois Verber
Produced by Patrice Ledoux
Music by Desplat
Director of photography: Robert Fraisse
Production design: Dominique Andre
Running time 85 minutes
Cast: Gad Elmaleh(Francois)
Kristin Scott Thomas(Christine)
Richard Berry(Mr. Foix)
Michel Aumont(The Doctor)