France, Belgium | 90 MINUTES | French |
A surprise hot ticket at every festival that it screens at, this one-of-a-kind gem has left critics trying to trace its roots in everything from Jacques Tati for its hilarious visual wit to Bad Santa for making comic protagonists out of an ill-tempered pair who make everyone else miserable. Gus (Gustave Kervern, who also wrote and co-directed) is a hot-under-the-white-collar manager and his neighbor Ben (Benoit Delépine, his collaborator in the creation of this film) is a slovenly, lazy farmer. Their mutual loathing leads to a brawl in the midst of which they are crushed under the mechanism of Ben's tractor, and left paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of their lives. Condemned to each other's company, as well as to wheelchairs, they set off on an odyssey of revenge, determined to get reparations from the manufacturer-Finnish-based Aaltra-of the equipment they blame for their fate. The film's intransigent wit and mordant humor are close cousins to the work of a certain famed Finn who turns in a shaggy dog cameo in the final sequence.