MY BEST FRIEND
(Mon meilleur ami)
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

One of the few films that I managed to see at
the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival was Patrice
Leconte's comedy
MY BEST FRIEND.
This seemingly lightweight film stars one of
contemporary cinema's best actors -- Daniel
Auteuil -- as François Coste, a well-to-do art
dealer in Paris who confuses business contacts
with friends.

with the intent of completing a transaction he
had begun with the deceased. He then heads off
to an auction where he uncharacteristically bids
on a Greek vase depicting the friendship of
Achilles and Patroclus (although a closer reading
of the
Illiad might lead people to realize they
were more than just friends, but I digress).
Appalled that he would spend so much, his
business partner Catherine (Julie Gayet)
suggests a wager: Coste must bring his best
friend to dinner or she gets to keep the vase.
Reluctantly, he agrees.

Although François is certain he has a best
friend, he quickly learns that he has been
mistaking casual business associates for
something more. Indeed, it seems most people
don't really even like him, but merely tolerate
him because of his status in the industry.

Eventually Coste meets a loquacious taxi cab
driver named Bruno (Dany Boon). Even though
he finds the driver's knowledge of trivia  a bit
tedious, Coste recognizes that the man has a
distinctly successful manner with people. On
another whim, he hires Bruno to train him in the
art of forging connections with other people.

For Bruno it boils down to three things, smiling,
sincerity and sociability, none of which François
possesses and Bruno has his work cut out. But,
then a strange thing begins to happen. The pair
begin to discover some commonalities and a
bond grows between them.

But there are complications and several twists
and turns. The film climaxes with Bruno as a
contestant on the French equivalent of
Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Auteuil is peerless as Coste and he and Boon
share a terrific chemistry (the pair are off screen
friends and also appear in
THE VALET). Gayet
does yeoman work as Coste's business partner
and there are nice supporting turns from Julie
Durand as François' daughter and Jacques
Mathou and Marie Pillet as Bruno's parents.
MY
BEST FRIEND
is an enjoyable soufflé that may
get you to stop and ask yourself the question:
do you have a best friend?

Rating:              B
MPAA Rating:     PG-13 for some
                            strong language
Running time:    90 mins.
MY BEST FRIEND (Mon meilleur ami)
An IFC Films Release