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June 10, 2010
Movie Review: OSS 117: Lost in Rio
Posted by Turk182 in Movie Reviews

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006) was a very funny satire of spy movies not unlike a French Austin Powers. The main difference is that Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath (Jean Dujardin), better known as OSS 117, was actually a character in genuine spy movies in the 1960s and has only now been re-imagined as a spoof of his sexist, racist, and generally stupid personality. Imagine if the James Bond franchise had stopped in the 1960s and someone now made a 007 flick that was a comedy version of the world of spies and starlets. The first OSS 117 was a clever, witty romp with a great lead performance, beautiful locations, and a swinging rhythm, but sequelitis is apparently not purely an American phenomenon as the follow-up, OSS 117: Lost in Rio, isn’t nearly as effective, beating one joke into the ground and missing the near-perfect comic timing of the first movie. It’s far from a complete failure as Dujardin and director Michel Hazanavicius occasionally find the comic beat they maintained more consistently in Nest of Spies, but it’s definitely a less successful mission for France’s bumbling spy.


The first film satirized thrillers of the 1950s but the sequel moves to a slightly different target as the proceedings jump to 1967 and Hazanavicius and co-writer Jean-Francois Halin take on the cultural issues of the Cold War and the thrillers that were made post-WWII about the Nazi regime. By moving to the 1960s, OSS 117 gets to experience, free love, drugs, and more than a few Hitchcock references, but the basic bumbling a la Inspector Clouseau has not changed. OSS 117 always seems to get his man but largely through accident more than intelligence. In Lost in Rio, OSS 117 teams up with a beautiful Mossad agent (Louise Monet) to travel to Rio to track down a notorious Nazi (Rudiger Vogler) and a microfilm with a list of French collaborators with the SS during World War II. Americans, Israelis, Frenchmen, Germans, Chinese – it’s all a backdrop for a series of jokes that play off OSS 117’s remarkable racism, most of which fall flat. After a clever shoot-out in the opening scenes of the film, Lost in Rio never finds the rhythm that made the first movie so enjoyable, only occasionally producing the laughter so prominent when watching Nest of Spies.

OSS 11: Lost in Rio is a stylish exercise populated by beautiful people and it has a few inspired moments but the timing that worked so well in the first film is mostly gone as scenes go on way past the point when they should have been cut and the entire premise of the film wears out its welcome before the third act. Lost in Rio is one of those spiritless exercises in which one could watch any ten minute segment and pretty much get what they need from it. It just kind of continues rather than builds character or humor. Sure, there’s a relatively inspired action finale that parodies North by Northwest on top of the Christ statue in Rio but I found that I simply didn’t care by that point. It’s a film that’s just too easy to check out of and I never quite checked back in. Dujardin has spectacular timing and is perfect in the title role but he never develops chemistry with Monet and the rest of the supporting cast is uninspired. He’s good enough that he almost makes this trip to Rio worth seeing, but hopefully his next mission, which one assumes will jump to the 1970s and some other gorgeous foreign locale, will present him with a few more worthy adversaries.


Reviewed by Brian Tallerico (MovieRetriever.com Film Critic)

Release Date: June 11th, 2010
Rating: NR

Starring: Jean Dujardin, Louise Monet, and Rudiger Volger
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Writers: Michel Hazanavicius & Jean-Francois Halin

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Posted by Turk182 in Movie Reviews - June 10, 2010 at 5:06 PM
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