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79 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2009
This film has become the most-seen (among the French themselves) film in the history of French film. In fact, has been seen by more French than any other film - period. It's funny, warm, and inclusive, and holds a mirror up to French viewers to allow them to laugh at their own clichés about regional differences. The fun ranges from slapstick to very sophisticated verbal punning, based on the more-or-less incomprehensible (even to most native French speakers) regional dialect of the North of France. The puns and misunderstandings are legion, and have Francophone audiences howling with laughter in the theaters. What about non-French-speaking viewers? Well, in fact, the English-language subtitles are superb, and succeed in capturing the flavor of the humor, at times choosing an analogous joke which works well in English, rather than a direct word-for-word translation which would fall flat. (Dany Boon, the film's writer and director - and one of its lead actors - is reported to have stayed involved with the production of the subtitles, indicating his desire to have the film's communication with Anglophone viewers be as rich as possible.)

To be brief, the humor succeeds both in revealing regional cultural differences very particular to the French, and also in playing with the basic idea of strangeness in a culturally neutral fashion. Evidence to that last assertion is the fact that the rights to re-make the film in the USA - and, presumably, to reset the action in an American frame - have been bought by Will Smith's production company.

There are several other emotionally deeper subplots which make the film richer than just an exercise of the smiling muscles. The relation between the two male leads moves from initial bias, awkwardness, and distrust to a genuine emotional (not sexual) intimacy, which allows both men to find the tools to resolve fundamental relationship issues with their respective female partners. Those three stories are somewhat predictable in their trajectories, which doesn't mean at all that they lack emotional power. Classical plot devices have become classics because they work; these plots have a germ of truth within them that allows us to remain interested in the particulars of how these individual people are going to fix their broken communications, to allow the resolution of the difficulties which are the motors of these plots.

Although it's been nonsensically claimed that "20 million Frenchmen can't be wrong," in this case, they're not, and the film invites you to participate whether you're a French-speaker or not. (Yes, I know: "50," not "20." But 20 million is the box in France as of this writing.) Very highly recommended.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2010
Our experience with French films has been one of extremes. French sensibilities do not always align with American, with the result that we either love them or hate them. This mismatch sometimes extends to the decision making on what movies should be released here or not. This movie suffered from this miscalculation. It is our understanding that Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis was one of the biggest hits in recent years in France. Yet, the decision was made not to release this film in the U.S., not even on DVD. You will not find this movie on cable or on Netflix. What a shame! We had to track the film down on Amazon to buy a copy released in Quebec. Our copy is now making its way through friends and family for them to enjoy.

Danny Boon has created a sweet, comic fish out of water story in which a post office manager is transferred, against his will, to the far north of France. This is the french version of the boonies, the Appalachians or the deep south. Much to his surprise he discovers that it is not what everyone assumes it to be. Yet to maintain his credibility with his family and friends back home he must maintain the fiction of a man suffering when he visits them. There is much humor in both places and in watching him go to greater extremes to maintain the lie as the story progresses.

The odds are the only way you will see this film is to buy the DVD. The cost is less than what you will waste taking someone to most movies. My advice is to spring for the film, make some popcorn and curl up with family or friends and enjoy.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2010
This is a very funny French comedy that had my wife, friends, and I laughing throughout the movie. It is too bad that the aversion to seeing a subtitled movie means the majority of Americans will never see this joyous comedy. What we do for love can often leads to strange, ill thought out decisions that lead to unintended consequences, but nevertheless end up making us better people and enhance our lives. Allow the plot to develop and the true character of the people that we encounter to unfold and the beauty of this movie becomes apparent.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2012
I was looking for an authentic French movie to show in class. Most French movies available in the US have Gerard Depardieu in them, and even though he is a fantastic and talented French actor, it is refreshing to watch a different kind of movie with other renowned and talented French actors.
Great movie! Students will love the DVD.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
Since so much of the humor is language-based, I was skeptical about using it, but the English subtitles are very clever about communicating intuitively the linguistic issues at play.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2013
This movie is so funny! Even if you don't know French. I really recommend it to everyone.
If you know a little French this will only make you want to go back and study some more!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2011
A pleasant foreign comedy in the spirit of "The Man who Went up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain" and "Waking Ned Devine."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2013
Everyone at home liked this movie. It is entertaining and funny. I have watched it twice and enjoyed it both times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Dany Boon's Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis/Welcome to the Sticks became France's biggest box-office hit in record time when it pulled in over $184m in France alone, although it's made barely a ripple in the English-speaking world - a shame, because this good natured culture clash comedy is a lot of fun. Kad Merad is the post office manager who gets caught pretending to be disabled to secure a transfer to the South of France only to be given the worst punishment in the post office's power: a transfer to the cold north of France, the Toxteth or Detroit of France. Once there he quickly discovers that (unlike Toxteth) it's not the backward disease-ridden inbred peasant slum of popular ridicule, but finds that comforting his imagined suffering cheers up his depressed wife back home, so ends up persuading his new friends to live down to all the horror stories when she comes to visit...

It's not the most original plot or treatment in the world, with much of the wordplay built around the local accent that adds chti to every other word straight out of Abbott and Costello's Who's On First routine, but while predictable it's still very funny more often than not. The early scenes are among the funniest, be it Michel Galabru's Dickensian (or should that be Hugoian?) horror stories of a childhood in the north to the sympathetic traffic cop who tears up a ticket when he finds out the condemned man's destination, and the end is rather abrupt, but it's a confident feelgood comedy that delivers the goods. Kudos to Michael Katims' excellent subtitle adaptation that manages to pull off the tricky alliteration, puns and wordplay that a lesser translator might decide were simply untranslatable.

The French PAL 2-disc set offers a wealth of unsubtitled extras, from a few deleted scenes and outtakes to lengthy documentaries and a themed French episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionare, but the film itself boasts both optional English subtitles and a very good 2.35:1 widescreen transfer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2009
Thoroughly enjoyed this brilliant French comedy when I went to see it at a cinema in NZ. Tracking down a Region 2 copy to watch in the UK, however, proved much more difficult and I was thrilled when I managed to source this one from the US no less. Everything worked superbly and friends were much amused by the crazy antics of the mad men in . . . le Nord!
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