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Just Trust

A pair of serial fleecers team up as live-in help in "Just Trust." Basic premise could be recreated in any country where employers assume the hired help is pilfering the silver. The broad gags, crass dialogue and loose structure make this merciless critique of class differences a likely B.O. performer in Gaul. Pic opens on 500 prints Nov. 10.

With:
With: Vincent Lindon, Cecile de France, Eric Berger, Anne Brochet, Jacques Boudet, Martine Chevallier, Pierre Vernier, Jean-Marc Roulot, Erick Desmarestz, Evelyne Didi, Andre Wilms.

A pair of serial fleecers team up as live-in help in “Just Trust.” Basic premise — a low-rent riff on Ernst Lubitsch’s sublime “Trouble in Paradise” — could be recreated in any country where employers assume the hired help is pilfering the silver. The broad gags, crass dialogue and loose structure make this merciless critique of class differences a likely B.O. performer in Gaul. But whether this very French treatment by Etienne Chatiliez, the mores-skewering helmer of “Life Is a Long Quiet River” and “Tatie Danielle,” can travel widely is an open question. Pic opens on 500 prints Nov. 10.

Household maid Chrystele (Cecile de France) and handyman-cum-chauffeur Christophe (Vincent Lindon) meet when each is on the run from having betrayed their most recent employers’ trust. After a quickie in a hotel, she realizes he went through her purse and he discovers she emptied his wallet.

With references forged by Chrystele’s otherwise straight-arrow brother Ludo (Eric Berger, the title character in Chatiliez’s previous sardonic hit, “Tanguy”), the duo gets hired in bourgeois households across France, with larcenous results.

Chrystele may be both lower class and low class but she’s smart enough to know how to ingratiate herself with the well-to-do. Christophe is a fairly dim bulb and way more sentimental than the pragmatic, mercenary Chrystele. Local faves Lindon and De France dish out the below-the-belt humor with obvious relish.

When their ship comes in and the two thieves can hire servants of their own, the humor grows even broader. But story also begins to fan out in random directions, thinning as it goes and leading toward a somewhat tepid conclusion.

Supporting cast is aces as pic eviscerates spot-on reps of Gallic social strata. Overall attitude is of blanket nastiness, with no redeeming social features, a description of which filmmakers would almost certainly be proud.

Just Trust

France

Production: A UGC Distribution release of a Charles Gassot presentation of a Telema, Les Prods. du Champ Poirier production, in association with Banque Populaire Images 4, Sogecinema 2, with participation of TPS Star. (International sales: TF1 Intl., Boulogne, France.) Produced by Charles Gassot. Directed by Etienne Chatiliez. Screenplay, Laurent Chouchan, based on an idea by and in collaboration with Chatiliez.

Crew: Camera (color), Philippe Welt; editor, Catherine Renault; music, Matthew Herbert; production designer, Stephane Makedonsky; costume designer, Elisabeth Tavernier; sound (Dolby), Pierre Gamet. Reviewed at UGC Normandie, Paris, Nov. 8, 2004. Running time: 104 MIN.

With: With: Vincent Lindon, Cecile de France, Eric Berger, Anne Brochet, Jacques Boudet, Martine Chevallier, Pierre Vernier, Jean-Marc Roulot, Erick Desmarestz, Evelyne Didi, Andre Wilms.

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