Campana
Created by Francis Veber

Just another wandering daughter job? Mais non!

In the French comedy La Chèvre (it translates as "the goat") tough, seen-it-all Parisian private detective, CAMPANA is sent to Mexico to track down the ditsy accident-prone daughter of a Parisian big shot, but comes up short. So the father's company psychologist (who sounds like he may need some therapy himself) suggests sending the irritatingly smug François Perrin, the firm's equally clumsy accountant, back to Mexico with Campana, on the rather peculiar theory that he'll lead them to the girl, a wonky play on the old "set a thief to catch a thief" riff.

But it works! They DO find the girl.

Although not, of course, before a string of slapstick gags and pratfalls and -- hey, it's a French film!-- romantic complications. The long-suffering, slow-burning Campana is played to great effect by Gérard Depardieu. Together, he and Pierre Richard, who plays Perrin, make a formidable comedy team. They went on to make two more comedies loufoques together (Les Comperes and Les Fugitifs), but this one is generally considered their best. And indeed, there are some genuinely funny moments here. If you can find this, and you don't mind subtitles, and a few stereotypes that were tired even back in 1981, you may get a real kick out of this one.

When I first saw this it the story seemed vaguely familiar. Then it struck me -- this was the original version of the rather lame American flick Pure Luck, directed by Nadia Tass, and starring Martin Short and Danny Glover. I figure French writer/director Veber must hold some kind of record for the number of (usually inferior) Hollywood remakes from his movies. Besides Pure Luck, Veber wrote or directed the films that served as the basis for The Man With One Red Shoe (with Tom Hanks), The Bird Cage (Robin Williams), The Three Fugitives (Nick Nolte) and The Toy (Richard Pryor).

UNDER OATH

FILM

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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