The New Jean-Claude

First feature from successful comic book author and illustrator Didier Tronchet, who has some 30 hardcover comics to his credit, is nothing special on the cinematic front but is peopled with genuinely likable offbeat characters sketched with comic expediency by a gung-ho cast.

With:
With: Mathieu Demy, Clotilde Courau, Richard Berry, Darry Cowl, Benoit Tachiores, Michele Garcia, Veronique Boulanger, Francois Levantal.

A hapless pizza delivery guy and his small circle of lovable losers triumph over their entrenched shortcomings in “The New Jean-Claude.” First feature from successful comic book author and illustrator Didier Tronchet, who has some 30 hardcover comics to his credit, is nothing special on the cinematic front but is peopled with genuinely likable offbeat characters sketched with comic expediency by a gung-ho cast. Film was a surprise flop on local release in late June.

Jean-Claude (Mathieu Demy, in nebbish mode) poses as a motionless Greek statue by day and ferries pizzas by night. His fellow deliveryman, Bob (Benoit Tachiores), can’t resist gobbling the merchandise. Neither can get a date, although Jean-Claude is smitten with Marianna (Clotilde Courau), an eccentric softie who gives away more perfume than she sells at work. The lads get frequently specious advice on chicks from lady-killer Luis (Richard Berry). With help from an off-the-wall cabby, Jeff (comic vet Darry Cowl, in a tailor-made role), Jean-Claude finds self-esteem and romance. Send-up of human potential groups and Cowl’s perverse patter are highlights of this silly but pleasant diversion.

The New Jean-Claude

France

Production: A Pathe Distribution release of an Epithete Film presentation of an Epithete Film/M6 Films production, with participation of Canal Plus, M6, Natexis Banques Populaires Images 2, Gimages 5 production. (International sales: Pathe Intl., Paris.) Produced by Frederic Brillon, Gilles Legrand. Directed, written by Didier Tronchet.

Crew: Camera (color), Christophe Beaucarne; editor, Anne Lafarge; music, Les Wriggles; production designer, Aline Bonetto; costume designer, Sylvie de Segonzac. Reviewed at UGC Orient Express, Paris, July 15, 2002. (In Avignon Film Festival -- opener, non-competing.) Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Mathieu Demy, Clotilde Courau, Richard Berry, Darry Cowl, Benoit Tachiores, Michele Garcia, Veronique Boulanger, Francois Levantal.

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