C’est pas moi, c’est lui

Synopsis: Pierre Richard directs and stars in this comedy about a ghost writer employed by a successful comic. He assumes the comic’s identity and talks his way into a joint venture with an Italian screen star. The two travel to Tunisia to work on their collaboration and experience romantic and professional comic mishaps.
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C’est pas moi, c’est lui 7.0

I was pleasantly surprised by ‘C’est pas moi, c’est lui’ (literal translation: ‘It’s not me, it’s him’), which was written and directed by Pierre Richard. It’s hardly a masterpiece, and it’s no wonder given that Richard is predominantly an actor, but it was decidedly better than I had expected it to be and it fell in line with middle-of-the-road ’70s and ’80s Hollywood comedies – the sort that Gene Wilder or Dudley Moore might have been at home in. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

The story itself was well-conceived, being about a ghost writer who sees a chance to finally get in the spotlight by impersonating his writing partner. However, the scenes were sometimes cobbled together in ways that suggest poor editorial choices and/or even limited time allowance on the film, forcing the filmmaker to make hard decisions. It reminds me of some of Blake Edwards’ later work (ex: ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Son of the Pink Panther’), which sometimes seemed edited with a bludgeon. indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent

Meanwhile, Richard’s brand of comedy in ‘C’est pas moi, c’est lui’, reminded me of John Ritter’s ‘Three’s Company’ style and skill in some ways. I always found that Ritter was imperfect in his delivery, but was certainly capable, and managed to provide many laughs even though he missed a few opportunities along the way. The same can be said for Richard, who pratfalls well enough, plays self-absorbed but naïve quite well, and is quite the affable fellow. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

Much of the film feels well-worn, as though the ideas are really nothing new. I can’t say that I have an excellent historical perspective on motion picture comedy, so it’s quite possible that this was innovative at the time of its release, some 35 years ago. But I highly doubt it. Still, one can very rarely find fresh ideas after over a century of cinema, so one might concede that anything that’s done well even if it’s somewhat of a reheat isn’t too shabby.

In the end, ‘C’est pas moi, c’est lui’ is an amusing, but not especially hilarious, picture. It’s definitely a good Pierre Richard vehicle, but it could have been done slightly better. Still, for material that isn’t entirely fresh, they did a good job of it and it put a smile on my face for most of its ninety-minute runtime. happy0027 Free Emoticons   Happy

If one were interested in exploring Pierre Richard’s oeuvre, it would be a welcome addition to the mix. Otherwise, it merely makes for a decent Sunday afternoon sleeper.  happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

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