A professional sniper has his assassination plans foiled by "A Pain in the Ass" in scribe-helmer Francis Veber's remake of a film he wrote 35 years ago and shouldn't have revived a second time.

A professional sniper has his assassination plans foiled by “A Pain in the Ass” in scribe-helmer Francis Veber’s remake of a film he wrote 35 years ago and shouldn’t have revived a second time. Updating the 1973 Lino Ventura-Jacques Brel starrer — itself based on Veber’s play — that was a hit under Edouardo Molinaro’s direction, the filmmaker lands neither the performances nor the gags needed to make this hotel room farce anything more than painfully unfunny. Wide mid-December Gaul release was a B.O. flop, though it may plant some tushies in front of the tube.

Hitman Jean (Richard Berry) is all set to take out an elderly whistleblower (Michel Aumont) when he’s accosted by bona fide loser Francois (Patrick Timsit), who’s mortified when his wife (Virginie Ledoyen) leaves him for a cocksure shrink (Pascal Elbe). Stuck in adjoining hotel rooms, the two knuckleheads battle it out (and often act) like Punch and Judy puppets, while crotch grabs, vomit spews and simulated male copulation abound. Sitcom-style tech credits don’t make the action — which runs 80 minutes, plus a suspiciously slow five-minute credits roll — pass any faster.

A Pain in the Ass

France

Production

A TFM Distribution release of a Pulsar Prods., TF1 Intl., TF1 Films Prod., Telema, Efve Films production, in association with Sofica-Valor 7, with participation of Canal Plus. (International sales: TF1 Intl., Paris.) Produced by Patrice Ledoux. Directed, written by Francis Veber, based on his play "The Contract."

Crew

Camera (color, Panavision widescreen), Robert Fraisse; editor, Georges Klotz; music, Jean-Michel Bernard; production designer, Dominique Andre; costume designer, Jacqueline Bouchard. Reviewed at Gaumont Champs Elysees Ambassade 10, Paris, Dec 15, 2008. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Richard Berry, Patrick Timsit, Pascal Elbe, Virginie Ledoyen, Laurent Paolini, Michel Aumont.
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