The Chateau

The Chateau


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Brothers Graham and Rex are surprised to learn they have inherited a chateau from an uncle, the Count d'Granville. The four retainers at the chateau are even more surprised when the Americans arrive unexpectedly to claim their inheritance - especially as Graham is white and Rex is black.

The brothers attempts to explain themselves are not helped by their hilarious manglings of the French language, but eventually they make the situation clear.

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Graham would like to keep the chateau but Rex, the one with the money, is reluctant to pay off the chateau's debts and for repairs.

So the chateau is placed up for sale, but only if the buyer agrees to keep on the servants. They, however, neither want new owners nor appreciate being treated as chattel.

Inspired by writer-director Jesse Peretz's expriences of being an American abroad, The Chateau is at its best early on as it plays the culture clashes between the brothers - Rex is a successful businessman who acts as if he's a brother from the 'hood despite a middle class, middle American upbringing and Graham a neurotic pseudo-intellectual - and their French hosts.

But once the characters get to know each other the laughs diminish and the film turns into a somewhat predictable romantic comedy with nothing much to say.

Still, any film that encourages gentle fun poking at the pretensions of both Yanks and Frogs has to get an okay from this Brit.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2001
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Decent culture clash comedy in which two very different American brothers inherit a dilapidated French chateau.
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Director: Jesse Peretz

Writer: Jesse Peretz, Thomas Bidegain

Starring: Paul Rudd, Sylvie Testud, Romany Malco, Didier Flamand, Donal Loguem, Philippe Nahon

Year: 2001

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: USA


EIFF 2001

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