Box Office Worldwide: $14M
Production compaines: Epithète Films, Tapioca Films, Warner Bros. Entertainment France, France 2 Cinéma, France 3 Cinéma, Orange Cinéma Séries, France 2 (FR2), France 3 (FR 3), Région Ile-de-France
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Dany Boon as Bazil, Dominique Pinon as Fracasse, André Dussollier as Nicolas Thibault De Fenouillet, Jean-Pierre Marielle as Placard, Julie Ferrier as La Môme Caoutchouc, Yolande Moreau as Tambouille, Michel Crémadès as Petit Pierre, Nicolas Marié as François Marconi, Omar Sy as Remington, Marie-Julie Baup as Calculette
After being shot by an errant bullet, Bazil (Boon) becomes homeless. Taken in by the Micmacs, seven misfits living in a secret lair under a rubbish heap, he discovers that rival Parisian arms dealers manufactured the bullet that hit him and the landmine that killed his father when he was a child. As he plots his revenge, his new friends all want in on the plan, so they set about inventively using their salvage to get the company owners (Dussollier and Marie) to square off against each other.
The opening sequence is pure Jeunet magic: a contained short film that traces Bazil's childhood, his father's death and his life leading to the fateful bullet. It's packed with a witty sense of visual energy, twisted irony and a remarkable emotional undercurrent. And all of this continues through the rest of the film, as the plot spirals into unexpected directions and constantly catches us off guard with moments of hilarious comedy and tender humanity.
Boon is terrific at the centre--as adorable as Audrey Tautou in Amelie, but rather a lot more twitchy as he copes both with the bullet in his brain and his personal history while learning to accept this nutty gang as his family. And they're wonderfully imaginative characters: jailbird Slammer (Marielle), motherly Mama Chow (Moreau), human cannonball Buster (Pinon), inventor Tiny Pete (Cremades), cliche-spouting writer Remington (Sy), the always-analysing Calculator (Baup) and especially Bazil's reluctant love interest, the bendy Elastic Girl (Ferrier).
And even though there's a pointed comment on the global arms trade, the film buries any serious message under the goofy antics, constant sight gags and some extremely amusing caper sequences. Yes, there are points where it even abandons its own internal logic for something comically satisfying or convenient for the plot. But it keeps us smiling and often laughing loudly from start to finish.