The Intouchables

Directed By: Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano

Starring: François Cluzet and Omar Sy

It was voted the cultural event of the year in France last year.  It's won countless awards.  It has enamored millions of international moviegoers and conquered the box office overseas, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.  The celebrated film The Intouchables has finally made it to the US.  With the rather tepid reception here though, it's been a bit anticlimactic.  A film that's made several hundred million bucks elsewhere around the globe is only playing in a handful of theaters around the nation.  I understand that it's the summer blockbuster season and that action movies are ruling the box office right now.  However, it's a damn shame that an international hit like The Intouchables doesn't get the exposure it deserves here in the US.

Philippe (François Cluzet) is a rich tetraplegic.  He has all the money in the world but has to spend it on his round-the-clock care.  He's looking for a caregiver and has solicited applications for the job.  All the candidates seem rather boring until Senegalese ex-convict Driss (Omar Sy) enters the pool of applicants.  With his irreverent attitude and his relaxed demeanor, Driss intrigues Philippe.  Driss isn't looking for a job though.  He just wants his welfare benefits and needs some signatures from prospective employers showing that he's looking for gainful employment.

Philippe decides to hire Driss on a trial basis to see if he's suitable for the work.  While Driss doesn't mind getting exposed to a life of luxury and living in Philippe's home, he does mind some of his more cumbersome duties, such as putting on Philippe's stockings (which help his blood flow) or wiping his boss's ass.  Despite the fact that Driss does not warm up to some of his new responsibilities too quickly, he's everything Philippe needs right now.  He's a man without pity who shakes things up.  He's a pragmatic man who will straighten fools out when the situation calls for it.  He becomes a dear friend who knows what Philippe needs most.

From the moment Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" was cued, I knew I was in for a treat with The Intouchables.  This comedy drama is both heartwarming and hilarious.  Whether smoking joints, paragliding in the mountains, or getting massages from hot women, François Cluzet and Omar Sy look like they're having a whole lot of fun throughout the film.  Because they're having so much fun in this buddy movie, we have just as much.  The Intouchables is the best buddy movie I've seen in years.

The musical selections in The Intouchables are quite impressive as well.  Nakache and Toledano can take you from classical music to contemporary music in seconds. One minute you could be appreciating the beauty of works by composers such as Vivaldi or Berlioz.  The next minute, you could be tapping your feet to Earth, Wind & Fire.  The drastically different musical selections highlight how different our two main characters truly are.  The wealthy Philippe comes from a very different world than that from which his counterpart comes.  Driss, an ex-convict, has only known a life of poverty.  These sorts of cultural differences are the essence of any good buddy movie.

The Intouchables is a great movie.  There's a good reason this flick is so acclaimed.  It's a magnificent delight.  You'll absolutely love it.  I completely lost track of time while watching this one.  The Intouchables gets a sober rating.  Don't miss this one!