Ever since I watched my first foreign film, I thought that most French movies were far too esoteric or dark for my taste (even the funny ones). What I eventually discovered is that while there are those types of films out there, there are also some great ones that are closer to your favorite American comedy than you’d expect! Take a peek at four of my favorite funny French films, most available to rent via iTunes or Amazon.
Bienvenue chez Les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Land of Ch’tis)
This film is co-written, directed, and starring Dany Boon, a French comedian who hails from the north of the country where the local inhabitants and their dialect is called “Ch’ti”. This often cold and rainy region is considered the “sticks” by city dwellers, and the plot centers around a postal manager who is transferred to the town of Bergues instead of the Mediterranean beach town he hoped for. Be prepared to have to read subtitles, even if your French is excellent!
Rien à déclarer (Nothing to Declare)
The rivalry between France and Belgium is real, and in this film, two customs officers from opposite sides of the border have to figure out a way to work together once the Euro zone made border patrol obsolete. Belgian officer Ruben Vandevoorde (played by Benoît Poelvoorde) is a hot-tempered Francophobe forced to work with French officer Mathias Ducatel (Dany Boon) who happens to be secretly dating Louise, Ruben’s sister. What could possibly go wrong?
Pret-Moi ta Main (I Do)
Luis Costa, a 40-something bachelor, is given an ultimatum to find a wife and settle down after his mother and sisters become fed up with taking care of him. Instead of dating to find his match, he opts to pay his best friend’s sister, Emma (Charlotte Gainsbourg) to be his faux-fiancée, in the hopes of getting his family off his back. When his plan backfires, the scheme gets more complicated…what was that saying about tangled webs?
RAID Dingue (RAID Special Unit)
I’m not sure that this available in the US yet (I caught it on an Air France flight in May) but it will make its way here soon, I’m sure! In this action comedy, Dany Boon (quickly becoming one of my favorite actors, obviously) plays a hard-assed training officer to a young, overzealous female cop who desperately wants to be a part of the RAID team. Though it’s a little on the predictable side, the awkward, over-the-top antics of Johanna (played by Alice Pol) make for some incredibly funny sequences.
Do you have a favorite French comedy to share? Leave it in the comments below – I’m always on the lookout for funny films!