My best friends: the flop became a great success thanks to television

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My best friends

Jean-Marie Poiré’s comedy with Christian Clavier and Jean-Pierre Darroussin returns to CStar.

A bitter failure when it was released in 1989, this comedy of friends signed by the tandem Clavier-Poiré has achieved great success thanks to the small screen. Rebelote probably at 9 p.m., on CStar.

Myour best friends released on screens Wednesday, March 1, 1989, distributed with a lot of publicity by Gaumont. Big cast (Lanvin, Clavier …), big director (Poiré, the man behind Santa Clause is garbage and Grandpa is resisting), big hopes (millions, of course). The main contestant of the day is David Zucker’s new burlesque comedy, Is there a cop to save the queen? Far from blowing up the counters, Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) will barely exceed 600,000 entries at the end of the race. It’s already that. My best friends will do… half as much. An inexplicable oven. Is it this damn red umbrella, under which the heroes and the heroine shelter on the poster, that chills the enthusiasm of the spectators? Why this rainy image, when the film does not evolve in any particularly capricious climate except that of the hearts of men? Still, at the dawn of a new decade, Jean-Marie Poiré no longer seems to have this mojo that had made him the boss of the French box office during the 80s. Even his clumsy Twist again in Moscow had found its audience three years earlier. Has the mood of French society, which has just re-elected François Mitterrand despite the disappointments of the first seven years, changed?

Grandpa makes resistance is not a comedy: “It’s a realistic and comic adventure film”

CARICATURE. If we side with an implacable artistic logic – and of course chimerical – which would like only good films to be successful, there would be nothing to cry injustice. The poverty of the staging of My best friends It immediately jumps out at the eyes with its cookie-cutter framing, its sluggish editing and its light that does not even try to be a minimum connection. So, during the first dinner (lunch?) In the country house, no one really seems to know what time of day it is. Let’s say that the assistant director and the scriptwriter had smoked the rest of Dany’s carpet (Jean-Pierre Darroussin in the role of lymphatic buddy). Under its playful and vaguely nostalgic aspect with its hippie flashbacks, the screenplay, co-written with four hands by Clavier and Poiré, does not really manage to identify an overall psychology. Once sketched out, the characters have nothing else to send back than a vague caricature of themselves: the handsome kid supposedly tidied up with cars (Gérard Lanvin) the dissatisfied bourgeois (Christian Clavier), the grumpy pubard (Jean- Pierre Bacri) or the intellectual sad (Philippe Khorsand). All this herd finds himself clustered around the woman they all once wanted more or less in secret (the volcanic Louise Portal). We seem far from models of the genre, Vincent, François, Paul and the others by Claude Sautet or the diptych of The elephant of Yves Robert, who succeeded – one by his tempestuous gravity, the other by his gentle madness – to probe the faults of his heroes. So yes, the logic of good taste has been respected. Except no. She had it all wrong.

Christian Clavier: “A lot of people find it complicated to interview me”

ANXIETY OF A GENERATION. Once removed from the screens in general indifference, My best friends slowly slips away from minds. In the Gaumont offices, we are surely trying to find what could have seized the shining machine (this famous umbrella on the poster, the not really festive tone of the whole, the recurring allusions to cannabis and to sex a bit too much for the general public…) And then, one, two, three, four TV shows in prime time and a VHS output give back life in the film and dispel a misunderstanding. The author’s words (“There’s no death of man!”, “The joint has considerably broadened my conception of art!”), finally hit the mark and are exchanged everywhere. For the critics, in a subtle reversal of trend, Poiré becomes squarely the new Risi. No one had realized that the supposed casualness of the whole was in reality one with characters unable to find their place and that the apparent relaxation masked the anguish of a generation of adults who, on the threshold of years 90, sensed a possible backlash. On the screen, the characters do not hold in place, do not cease to show their discomfort, to stumble against an endlessly fragmented space. Richard, Jean-Michel, Eric and Antoine get up, sit down again, climb the stairs four at a time, undertake a bike raid in the middle of the night, instigating a bizarre and devastating energy. The inevitably idealized flashbacks contrast with a present with devitalized colors. In this end of roaring eighties, Poiré and Clavier do not remit because of their class privilege, do not mourn a cool past, they simply deplore the softness of a present without breath or vigor. None of the protagonists in this story have the function of redeeming the others. Melancholy seems to prohibit focus, mood swings. Only Antoine (Khorsand), the theatrical artist who has not given up on his ideals, expresses his doubts loud and clear, but finds no listening ear with his “best friends”. We can therefore remove the umbrella and let the rain drip on the beautiful suits of this Friends first French.

Jean-Pierre Bacri: “The stories where everyone is doing very well do not interest me”

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