‘Mystery in Saint-Tropez’ – Clavier nailed a carnation

Christian Clavier is sympathetic to me. Since I met him in the early 90s at the command of Jean-Marie Poir in films like ‘Operation Veal Chop’, ‘The Visitors’ or ‘Guardian Angels’, in a first impression that continues to count 30 years later. And it is rare that he does not enjoy his films to some extent, even though they are rarely among the good ones. Especially when I see them dubbed into Spanish.

A “controversial” statement, but at least in my case, from experience, I consider true. Verbal humor is something that generally works much better in a language that one masters, since it requires an instinctive response that subtitles have a hard time reaching. “La Fripouille” does not sound the same as “Delcojn el Bribn”. But of course, it is also true that we speak of a sense of humor that is not … refined.

Because we are talking about Christian Clavier. With a thick-drawn sense of humor that, in the case of ‘Mystery in Saint-Tropez’, refers to Blake Edwards from ‘The Pink Panther’ or ‘El guateque’. All in French, there would be more. Because ‘Mystery in Saint-Tropez’ is a very French comedy, whether it is or it only seems so, and it once again highlights how difficult it is to cross borders with what really defines a country: The sense of humor.

‘Mystery in Saint-Tropez’ lends itself a lot to one of those remakes that Telecinco Cinema or Atresmedia Cine like so much. Or a creative dubbing like ‘Austin Powers’. You know, the cultural issue and all that … And well, it is a comedy not particularly successful and a rather wasted film. Not to say that it is a very fair production that abuses a very little … refined sense of humor.

A nonsense, well, that hardly takes true advantage of a premise that falsely and misleadingly refers to the apparent resurgence of the “whodunnit” championed by the success of ‘Puales por la back’. Which, in fact, is hardly making any real use of itself, in a succession of less elaborate and even less inspired sketches disguised as a film whose lack of credibility, on the other hand, they do little to disguise.

Christian Clavier I like, but it is certainly not Peter Sellers, who used to function with or without subtitles. That sympathy – whoever has it – keeps ‘Mystery in Saint-Tropez’ afloat, to call it somehow. Entertaining, and that’s it. To spend the time. And if one approaches her without any illusion for life, she will still have a laugh. But as a movie and as a joke, it is not a mystery that arrives very just anywhere.

By Juan Pairet Iglesias


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