The Dinner Game (1998) / Comedy
aka Le Diner de Cons
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language
Running Time: 80 min.
Cast: Thierry Lhermitte, Jacques Villeret, Francis Huster, Daniel Provost, Alexandra Vandermoot, Catherine Frot
Director: Francis Veber
Screenplay: Francis Veber
Review published January 1,1999
The Dinner Game (Le Diner de Cons) starts off with a few friends who have weekly tradition of finding a "jackass" to roast at a party for an evening. Pierre (Lhermitte, The Closet) is one of the hosts who is lucky enough to have found a World Class jackass in the person of Francois (Villeret, Golden Boy), a down-and-out tax collector who spends almost all of his free time making famous structures like the Eiffel Tower out of matchsticks. After a golfing accident, Pierre must call off bringing his jackass but ends up getting stuck with him in his apartment for the evening. But now the tables are turned, and the idiot he was planning to roast unknowingly makes Pierre's life a living hell.
It's all very amiable, and has great performances from the two leads in this stagy feeling French farce. One wonders if this would work better as a play than a movie, as most of the action takes place in Pierre's apartment. An occasional belly laugh can be had every once in a while, and at about 80 minutes, it doesn't overstay it's welcome, although it is a bit slow for a farce. The Dinner Game is recommended for a light and fun hour and 20 minutes.
©1999 Vince Leo