Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nothing to Declare

Dany Boon follows Welcome to the Sticks with another comedy about prejudices arising from the minor difference between two communities. It is Christmas 1992 in a small border village on the eve of the end of border controls between France and Belgium. Customs officer Ruben Vandevoorde is horrified at the impending end of his raison d'être (to protect his beloved Kingdom of Belgium from the cheese munchers from the south).

Ruben (Benoît Poelvoorde - who was the inhibited chocolate factory owner in Romantics Anonymous) alternates between barely contained rage and apoplexy. The only calming influences are threats of hell by the parish priest and something more immediate by his boss. Meanwhile timid French customs officer Mathias Ducatel (Dany Boon) has been secretly dating Ruben's little sister for a year, but finds his proposal rebuffed unless he overcomes his fear of her volcanic brother and acknowledge their relationship publicly.

To combat drug trafficking the authorities on either side of the border have decreed that at a joint mobile customs unit be set up. Unexpectedly Ruben volunteers, as does Mathias. The main act of the film becomes a buddy movie, as this mis-matched pair chase smugglers around the countryside in a Renault 4.

Many of the jokes are based on the differing accents on either side of the border, which unfortunately get lost in the sub-titles. But the more cultural jokes and set piece humour translate much better. I personally rank Welcome to the Sticks as the better comedy than Nothing to Declare, though Anne ranks them equally good.

Ian's rating 4/5 Anne's rating 4/5

No comments:

Post a Comment