‘One Man and His Cow’ (‘La Vache’): Film Review

Jamel Debbouze (‘Amelie’) constructed and co-stars in this Pathe comedy about an Algerian rancher and his favorite animal.

The French are arrange of spooky by cows – or vaches, in a strange language. Just demeanour during how they’ve infiltrated a bland parlance: A peau de vache” (“cowhide”) is a respectful approach of job somebody an a–hole. When it’s pouring outside, we can contend il pleut comme une vache qui pisse” (“it’s raining like a pissing cow”). If we pronounce French poorly, we sound like “une vache espagnole” (“a Spanish cow”). And when you’re unequivocally astounded by something, we can scream “holy cow!” or “la vache!” – an countenance Frenchies still occupy on a unchanging basis.

In a new cow comedy One Man and his Cow – simply patrician La Vache in French – an Algerian farmer’s dream comes loyal when his esteem heifer is invited to contest in a annual Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris. He so sets out on a prolonged debate by boat, and afterwards by foot, channel France with his cow in draw and assembly all sorts of characters along a way, while training some critical life lessons in a process.

It’s a elementary nonetheless potentially abounding judgment that’s some-more or reduction botched by writer-director Mohamed Hamidi (Homeland), who dishes out an array of clichés and extended jokes before streamer to a many required finale possible. Not that one should unequivocally design too most from such a story, of that there are a few precedents in French cinema (including Henri Verneuil’s dear 1959 Fernandel vehicle, The Cow and I, that is directly cited in a stage here), though it’s too bad a filmmakers didn’t try to make something some-more strange and perceptive, rather than simply milking a money cow that should fill Pathe’s feeders both theatrically and on a small screen.

The film stars Franco-Algerian comic Fatsah Bouyahmed as Fatah, and dual Tarentaise-race beauties as Jacqueline, who transport together from a small encampment of Bolayoune all a approach to a City of Light, where a dual fundamentally take a print in front of a Eiffel Tower. Before they get there, a integrate – a using wisecrack is that Fatah is some-more trustworthy to Jacqueline than to his possess mother (Hajar Masdouki) – run into stereotypes like a vexed French eminent (Lambert Wilson) in his dilapidating chateau, and a thuggish newcomer brother-in-law (Jamel Debbouze) who lives in a housing plan north of Marseille. (Cut to a stage where area kids spray-paint graffiti all over Jacqueline. Cue giggle track.)

While a side characters are of small interest, a categorical tract hinges on a method where Fatah gets unwittingly dipsomaniac one night during a karaoke celebration somewhere in Provence, and winds adult kissing a lady on camera. When a design gets behind to his wife, he becomes a contrition of his encampment and spends a residue of a film perplexing to redeem himself, creation a open defence during a TV news promote that shortly becomes a viral prodigy and sets adult Fatah’s feat debate in a shutting reel.

Bouyahmed seems like a pretty good comedian, generally when we see him perform an Arabesque chronicle of I Will Survive early on, though a element he’s operative with here is of an intensely low order. Hamidi and his co-writers intentionally bashful divided from anything remotely psychological or political, save for a deceptive anxiety to Charlie Hebdo and a aroused labor criticism that’s played quite for slapstick.

The fact that Fatah is an Algerian who desperately wants to make it in France is an intriguing thought given a story between a dual nations – and given a some-more new issues involving internal French Muslims – though a executive doesn’t know what to do with it over rub-down Gallic egos with his description of an outlandish nation hayseed who loves Vanessa Paradis and can’t wait to get Jacqueline into a spotlight.

Not that a comedy should always be sophisticated, and this one maybe deserves points for staying so honeyed and simplistic. Yet it unequivocally feels like a box where a semi-decent book was authorized after usually a second draft, ensuing in a shoal final product that tries unequivocally tough to please, though unequivocally won’t attain in creation we giggle till, well, a cows come home.

Tech credits are discriminating in all departments, including a cattle dept., while a jazzy measure by Franco-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf (Yves Saint Laurent) blends good with a film’s lifelike settings. 

Production companies: Quad, Kissfilms, Pathe, France 3 Cinema, Agora Films, 14eme Art Production, Ten Films
Cast: Fatsah Bouyahmed, Lambert Wilson, Jamel Debbouze, Julia Piaton, Hajar Masdouki
Director: Mohamed Hamidi
Screenwriters: Mohamed Hamidi, Alain-Michel Blanc, Fatsah Bouyahmed
Producers: Nicolas Adassovsky Duval, Yann Zenou, Laurent Zeitoun, Jamel Debbouze
Director of photography: Elin Kirschfink
Production designers: Arnaud Roth
Costume designer: Hadjira Ben-Rahou
Editor: Marion Monnier
Composer: Ibrahim Maalouf
Casting director: Gigi Akoka
Sales: Pathe International

In French, Arabic
91 minutes