Opening 24 Jul 2014
If you’re depressed from reading about North African drug dealers taking over public places, refugees from Lampedusa camping out in churches and girls being knifed by their radical Islamic brothers; and if you’re also tired of listening to once left-wing friends who are now leaning to the right-wing populist views of some of the candidates for the European parliament (“Send them back where they came from!”): this movie is your chance to lean back and enjoy yourself. No, it is not profound, and yes, it is full of ethnic clichés plus a few pretty heavy slapstick scenes that could upset those keen on political and intellectual correctness. But it is funny!
A conservative French father, Claude Verneuil (Christian Clavier), with four lovely daughters, is forced to adjust to three sons-in-law of varying ethnic backgrounds: Jewish, Muslim and Chinese. There is not only tension between Monsieur Claude and his sons-in-law but also among these young men themselves, even though they are all educated, successful and well established in French society. And the family gatherings become hotbeds of dissent until Madame Verneuil (Chantal Lauby) intervenes and prepares a Christmas dinner with three different turkeys, one kosher, one halal and one Chinese. The sons-in-law sing the Marseillaise and tolerance prevails until the fourth daughter comes home with her husband-to-be, Charles, a charming black actor from the Ivory Coast. The wedding threatens to end in disaster, but just when everything is falling apart, Charles’ father and Monsieur Claude discover common ground during an improvised fishing trip. Both are opposed to the marriage; both are Gaullists; and both like wine and Calvados. So there is a happy end, and you leave the movie with a bounce in your step. It’s worth a try! (Pat Nevers)