The Valet (Doublure, La) (2006)

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Released 17-Oct-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Making Of-Making of (45:23)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Alice's Choice (4:38)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Behind the Scenes with Karl Lagerfeld (1:06)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes- Fashion Parade (5:38)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Featurette on Alice Taglioni (2:02)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Site visit with the production desiger (6:11)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Valet's Valet (4:33)
Theatrical Trailer-La Doublure (2:01)
Theatrical Trailer-Le Placard (1:25)
Theatrical Trailer-Le Couperet (1:36)
Theatrical Trailer-Après vous... (2:01)
Theatrical Trailer-Le Dîner de cons (1:43)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 82:22 (Case: 85)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Francis Veber
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Gad Elmaleh
Alice Taglioni
Daniel Auteuil
Kristin Scott Thomas
Richard Berry
Virginie Ledoyen
Dany Boon
Michel Jonasz
Michel Aumont
Laurent Gamelon
Patrick Mille
Michèle Garcia
Philippe Magnan
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Alexandre Desplat


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Francis Veber’s fable La Doublure, finds the director treading new ground as he once again reinvents his fallible hero François Pignon and has written pivotal roles for three female characters. Pignon is portrayed by celebrated stand-up comedian and actor Gad Elmaleh, who recently starred opposite Audrey Tautou in Pierre Salvadori’s romantic-comedy Hors de prix.

Elmaleh’s Pignon is a simple man who is besotted with his childhood friend Émilie (Virginie Ledoyen), who he’s wanted to marry since kindergarten. Émilie has recently opened a bookshop and has found herself in debt owing the bank €32,450 and when Pignon asks her to marry him; she rejects him on the basis that he cannot financially provide for her. Pignon works as a valet at a fashionable restaurant in front of the Eiffel Tower with his roommate Richard, played by renowned stand-up comedian and actor Danny Boon who recently starred in Patrice Leconte’s successful comedy Mon meilleur ami with Daniel Auteuil.

On the other side of Paris wealthy businessman Pierre Levasseur (Daniel Auteuil) is having an affair with supermodel Elena Simonsen (Alice Taglioni) and after being photographed by the paparazzi with his mistress he finds himself front-page news. When Levasseur’s wife Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) questions her husband about the photograph, Pierre claims the supermodel has no association with him, rather she is with the man who appears in the background of the photo. The mystery man happens to be the recently rejected Pignon.

Pierre and his lawyer Maître Foix (Richard Berry) organize for Pignon and Elena to appear as a couple to fool Christine because if she is to divorce Pierre, he will end up with nothing. Pignon agrees to be part of the charade for the exact sum of €32,450 while Elena agrees for the sum of €20,000,000, which she will return to Pierre if he divorces his wife, which is something he has been promising Elena for years.

What follows is a series of disasters in the name of love as Pignon tries to win the heart of Émilie, despite the competition of her other suitor Pascal (Patrick Mille), while Richard tries to understand why Pignon has kicked him out of the apartment and is now living with a supermodel.

Equally Pierre tries to convince his wife that he is faithful while pining for Elena and subsequently becoming jealous of Pignon, and Elena tries to come to terms with being the third party in a marriage.

This is a well crafted comedy and the film features the trademark characters of a Veber film, from the doctor (Michel Aumont) who continuously falls ill while treating other patients to Pignon’s eccentric parents (Michel Jonasz and Michèle Garcia), to the egotistical Pascal - La Doublure is filled with wonderfully odd yet realistic characters. But it is Taglioni who shines through, she is the heart of the film and equally Elmaleh’s take on the classic character of Pignon is splendid. Those familiar with Elmaleh’s stand-up will know he is an energetic and vibrant showman and his restrained yet charismatic performance as Pignon is marvellous and dignified. Boon steals the show with some great lines and a lively performance while the double act of an uninhibited Auteuil and a controlled Berry is great to watch. Kristin Scott Thomas is also elegant and impressive.

I thoroughly enjoyed Veber’s latest effort as the director continuous to go from strength to strength. Keep an eye out for the great reference to Le Dîner de Cons. La Doublure is a wonderful comedy with heart and a remarkable cast and it is not surprising to learn that the American remake is currently in pre-production.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Presented in the theatrical aspect ratio of 2:35:1, the transfer is 16x9 enhanced and the image remains clear with excellent shadow depth and a natural and vibrant colour scheme.

The transfer has been encoded at a high average bit-rate of 6.45 Mb/s over a dual layer DVD. Subsequently the transfer is free of MPEG compression artefacts and is overall commendable.

The transfer incurs minimal telecine wobble (22:15), however there were no incidents of aliasing.

The optional English subtitles are presented in a clear yellow Arial font. While the subtitles do give a good generalisation of the French dialogue, there was an odd incident of a reference to designer and model ‘Inès de La Fressange’ being subtitled as ‘Naomi Campbell’ (70:20).

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

There are audio two options; a French 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack and a French 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack and both are clear and audible.

As this is a dialogue-driven comedy, the surround sound is used sparingly.

There are no problems with audio synch.

Chuck Berry’s No particular place to go is the main theme for the film while Alexandre Desplat’s original score is expressive and involving.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

The main menu is easy to navigate with a still image of the cover art and a selection of twelve scene selections, access to extras and set-up. The menu scored with a section of Chuck Berry’s No particular place to go.

The following extras appeared on the French R2 Gaumont DVD release of La Doublure. All the extras have player generated English subtitles which appear automatically when the feature is selected. These subtitles which are presented in a clear yellow Arial font can be turned off if desired. Overall the subtitles do give a good generalisation of the French language interviews. All the extras are 16x9 enhanced.

The Making of La Doublure (45:23)

This feature is the main extra and it includes extensive interviews with director Francis Veber who recalls the beginnings of the Francois Pignon character and the development of La Doublure. Verber mentions that the motivation of Elena to take part in the charade was the main script problem – is she motivated by money or by love. The feature also follows Elmaleh as he physically becomes Pignon and he explains his commitment to the role and also the difficulties which plagued him. Equally Danny Boon explains the difficulty of stand-up comics becoming actors. Taglioni, Auteuil and Berry are also interviewed. The feature includes extensive behind the scenes footage demonstrating the art of comic timing and Verber’s patient and detailed directing style. Also included is behind the scene footage with Karl Lagerfeld and Kristin Scott Thomas. This is a wonderful addition to the local release. The feature is divided into 10 chapter selections.

Alice's Choice (4:38)

Alice’s choice or rather the choice of Alice includes an interview with Taglioni recalling her first days of the film interspersed with camera tests and Veber explaining why he chose Taglioni for the lead role.

Behind the Scenes with Karl Lagerfeld (1:06)

Brief behind the scenes footage of Karl Lagerfeld’s photo session with Francis Veber.

Fashion Parade (5:38)

Behind the scenes footage of the 2005 Chanel Haute Couture Parade which appeared in the film. Note the subtitles incorrectly mark the parade as a 2007 event.

Featurette on Alice Taglioni (2:02)

Behind the scenes footage of Karl Lagerfeld’s photo session with Alice Taglioni.

Site visit with the Production Designer (6:11)

From Pignon’s apartment to the creation of the shopping strip, production designer Dominique André guides us from the designing stage to the final set pieces of the impressive film sets.

The Valet's Valet (4:33)

Three of the stand-in’s are documented in this behind the scenes feature. The three individuals stand-in for the lighting and camera set-ups when the actors are away and read lines in scenes which require off-screen dialogue.

Theatrical Trailer (2:01)

The theatrical trailer is 16x9 enhanced with burnt English subtitles.

Madman Propaganda

The following trailers are preceded by a heavily compressed anti privacy warning: Le Placard (1:25,) Le Couperet (1:36), Après vous... (2:01) and Le Dîner de Cons (1:43). The trailers are not 16x9 enhanced and they can be viewed individually or as a play all feature.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The R2 release includes the same extras with the addition of a Director’s commentary. The R2 release includes an English – Hard of Hearing subtitle track for the feature film however, the extras do not feature English subtitles. The R2 menus are themed in a similar fashion to the animated opening credit sequence of the film.

Summary

Madman's DVD release of La Doublure is a quality release for English speaking audiences.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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