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[Short Reviews]


Just what you’d expect from a Flemish farce: a pair of incompetent desperados, a devious media mogul, and a stitch of humor in every scene. Jean (Josse de Pauw) and Willy (Werner de Smedt) are unemployed lumpens with mounting financial pressures, so when the opportunity presents itself, Jean kidnaps Debbie (Thekla Reuten), Belgium’s pop icon of the moment — an older Britney who actually may have some talent. The plan goes sideways when Jean decides that the ransom be the production of a pop song he has conceived, and things get even goosier when he demands it be performed by an undiscovered talent: his unwary and portly daughter (Eva van der Gucht). The song becomes a huge hit, and Debbie, who hasn’t had sex in two years, finally gets her release. But the cops, hot to solve the caper, close in on Jean as tidbits of his identity and whereabouts are casually leaked by the smarmy media head (Victor Löw) who uses the ransom negotiations as a marketing tool. Nimble, smart, and never too serious, this cheeky pleaser, written and directed by Dominique Deruddère and sparked by the interplay between De Pauw and Löw, deserves the nomination it received for last year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar.


Issue Date: July 12-19, 2001