Shut Up!

Shut Up!


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

When casting a funny film, it pays to hire a comedian for the lead role.

Gerard Depardieu is an actor of monumental stature, who lost his way, went to America, made lame rom-coms and lightweight farces, such as Asterix And Obelix Take On Caesar and 102 Dalmatians, with embarrassing effect. Now, as Quentin, the stupidest criminal in France, he gives a performance that is accurate, sincere and unwatchable. Wearing a curly wig, with a permanent goofy grin on his face and looking much thinner, he is hardly recognisable.

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Partnering him in this Gallic attempt at an Ealing comedy is Jean Reno, who, in Les Visiteurs, proved that he can be gloriously silly. Unfortunately, as Ruby, a heartbroken assassin, whose one desire is to kill the gangster who murdered his mistress, he looks miserable, gets injured a lot and shouts at Quentin.

The premise is pure Hollywood - you can see Martin Short and Nick Nolte overacting like mad - and decidedly dim witted. Quentin is every prison governor's nightmare, because whenever he moves into a new lock up, he drives his cellmate crazy with his inane prattle. A fight ensues, which Quentin always wins, being unexpectedly adroit at fisticuffs.

When Ruby is arrested after a security van heist, he refuses to speak. The prison warden has a brainwave - put Quentin in with him and in no time he'll find his voice, if only to tell the idiot to shut up! It doesn't work quite like that, because Ruby stays mum and Quentin believes he has met his one and only true friend with whom he will open a restaurant in the small town he calls home.

Inevitably, they escape. Ruby tries to dump Quentin and continue his mission of revenge. They are chased by les flics and les baddies round and round the houses and all you can think of is, where's Lionel Jeffries?

Quentin may be an innocent in the body of a bruiser, but a punch up would be welcomed if only to be relieved of his company. Depardieu succeeds in making him the biggest buttock ache since Adam Sandler (in anything), which is exactly right for the character, but it requires a comic actor, like Ticky Holgado, who has a cameo role here as an alcoholic crane operator, to make him funny.

Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2006
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The stupidest crook in France joins forces with the most ruthless hitman in Paris.
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Director: Francis Veber

Writer: Francis Veber

Starring: Gerard Depardieu, Jean Reno, Richard Berry, Andre Dussollier, Jean-Pierre Malo, Jean-Michel Noirey, Laurent Gamelon, Aurelien Recoing, Vincent Moscaso, Ticky Holgado, Leonor Varela

Year: 2003

Runtime: 85 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: France


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