The Accomplices (1983)

Written and directed by Francis Veber
Produced by Francis Veber, Gérard Depardieu, Pierre Richard
Starring Pierre Richard, Gérard Depardieu, Stéphane Bierry, Anny Duperey, Michel Aumont, Philippe Khorsand, Jean-Jacques Scheffer, Maurice Barrier, Roland Blanche, Patrick Blondel, Jacques Maury, Florence Moreau, Gisèle Pascal, Florence Mancini

Bioparental incertitude often ensues youthful promiscuity, so when the mother (Duperey) of a runaway teenager (Bierry) enlists the aid of two bygone lovers — a pugnacious, profligate pressman (Depardieu), and a sensitively suicidal schoolteacher (Richard) — to track and retrieve him in Nice, both are convinced by her falsehoods professing their particular paternities. She couldn’t foresee that they’d meet and seek their sham son together, tailed by two greasy gangsters (Khorsand, Scheffer) whose boss isn’t a fan of the aggressive journalist’s celebrated exposés. Two of his three preferent leading men make the most of Veber’s featherweight farce with coactive comical esprit, running, stumbling, bickering, brawling, and pratfalling through his mishaps, horseplay, and situational clichés. Depardieu and Richard should’ve co-starred in more pictures as an antic duo, but neither they nor anything else here are as memorable as the wackily whistled main theme of Vladimir Cosma’s score. Most of Veber’s movies were Americanized, this as the witlessly piddling Fathers’ Day.

Recommended for a double or triple feature with The She-goat and/or The Fugitives.

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