Saturday, March 23, 2013

Would I Lie To You?

Grab some fresh popcorn and your favourite treats because the 16th Annual Cinéfranco Film Festival takes place in Toronto, Ontario from April 5-14th. I had the opportunity this weekend to check out Would I Lie To You 3, directed by Thomas Gilou. I know you may be wondering why I wouldn't be watching the first one, but I was only given access to this one; c’est la vie!

When I pushed play and was greeted with some overly-enthusiastic choreographed dancing panda bears, along with a James Bond/Oceans 11 casino motif in the background, I thought to myself, this may be 119 minutes of my life that I won’t be able to get back.

To start off with, we get introduced to Dov, suave ladies man (Vincent Elbaz), Serge, the compulsive liar (Jose Garcia), Eddie, the business mastermind (Richard Anconina) , Yvan the foolish salesman (Bruno Solo) and Patrick the conniving millionaire (Gilbert Melki). Each character is faced with a problem that incorporates itself into the movie. A few sticky situations involve such things as using a Moroccan amulet to cure impotency, pretending to be the brother of your father-in-law (who has amnesia) to get money, and falling head over heels in love with your tax auditor.

So after a mysterious case of watches arrives at Eddie’s business, no one has any clue what is going on. Then bam, French customs officials barge in and try to shut him down. Confused and caught off guard, something is not adding up. They've been framed and fingers are pointing to head honcho Xiong, who is a competitor in the fashion imitation business.

Making amends after some random kung-fu sequences take place, Eddie learns that Xiong did not set them up. There’s another troublesome miser in the mix, named Simon. With bail money posted, Eddie and the rest of the group journey off to China, hoping to make a real business deal before its too late (buying 800,000 pairs of shoes, branded with as Whitcomb Judson —where do I sign?).

It wouldn't be a comedy if everything went to plan, right? So you got it, everything that could go wrong, goes wrong. Scheming seems to have no boundaries and the shenanigans these guys get into are definitely hilarious! No matter what they do though, it seems like they are up a certain creek without a paddle, until a back-up plan is arranged, which will ultimately determine whether they will all sink or swim.

The film explodes with cultural diversity, and even though some may not appreciate the blatant stereotyping, it’s a comedy, so keep that in mind when you observe the loud, penny-pinching, kvetching Jewish mothers and the kung-fu Chinese businessmen who enjoy singing karaoke. I really give props to the makers for pulling it off. Not everyone can make a film that is French, with English subtitles, revolving around 5 Sephardic garment-maker Jews, who work in the Sentier district, and are fighting to save their bacon (and by bacon, I mean business!).

I wouldn't say the acting was outstanding, nor the plot itself, but it was generally well-written with amusing characters and, most of all, it had heart. Up until a certain point in the movie, I was pretty sure that I knew what was going to happen. It would be a predictable move that took no creative thought at all. Ah-ha, but wait!

I was pleasantly surprised to see a twist that really surprised me and made me feel quite differently. It was refreshing and quite clever, and I’m sure at this point you’re wondering what I’m rambling on about, so check out the film for yourself… would I lie to you?