Reputation isn’t everything for “The Marquis,” a Jean Doe who pretends to be the eponymous — and faceless — criminal mastermind in the slammer to avoid being bullied, only to get into hot water when he’s freed by a crime boss who requires the Marquis’ expertise for a job abroad. Sophomore stab at the helm for producer Dominique Farrugia (“The Perfect Date”) was shot in the Philippines but is otherwise a typical, mainstream-oriented French laffer with big-name stars and its fair share of chuckles. March 9 release has done noble but not regal biz locally.
Weak-willed nitwit Thomas (Franck Dubosc, sticking to his regular shtick), a security-system salesman jailed for a minor offense, loves to pretend he’s the Marquis, at least until he’s unexpectedly — and spectacularly — freed by the glacially menacing Jo (Jean-Hugues Anglade, perfectly cast against type). Paired with a fumbling underling (Richard Berry, solid) who’s majorly indebted to Jo, Thomas continues to pretend to prep Jo’s big coup while trying to find ways to hide his real identity and escape his dire predicament. Comedy is broad, rhythm pacey and location work slick (though not exploited to the max).