OSS 117: Lost in Rio

Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Robin Clifford 
  OSS 117: Lost in Rio
Laura Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Laura Clifford 

Super secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath (Jean Dujardin) is back on the case. Last time we saw our hero he was weeding out Cairo’s nest of nefarious spies (and mugging the occasional mullah). Now, our brave, though not-the-brightest-bulb-in-the-circuit, superman is half way around the world ferreting out the Nazis hiding out in Brazil in “OSS-117: Lost in Rio.”

Director/co-writer Michael Hazanavicus brought us his original 2006 spy spoof, “OSS-117: Cairo, Nest of Spies,” a hilarious spoof on the James Bond flicks of the 1960’s (the first OSS-117 movie, “O.S.S. 117 Is Not Dead” hit the big screen in the 1956, predating the first James Bond flick, “Dr. No (1962)”). Hubert de la Bath, AKA OSS-117, is a ladies man, suave and debonair, and has a license to kill issued to him by the French government. He is also clueless, tactless, prejudiced, and racist and has a hard time understanding any other culture than French. This is where the goofy slapstick humor of “Lost in Rio” (and “Cairo, Nest of Spies”) excels and runs non-stop.

Hubert is on a mission to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to track down the Nazis who escaped from Allied retribution after World War 2. He teams up with a beautiful Mossad agent, Dolores Koulechov (Louise Monot), and the race begins to find the list of Nazis hiding out in Rio and thwarting their wicked plot to start a 5th Reich (the Reich of Love). The action – gun battles, car chases and martial arts combat – is leavened by the copious comedy well delivered by Jean Dujardin who combines physical grace with a clueless view of world events, making Hubert suave, but also the consummate goofball.

“Lost in Rio” is a truly funny spy spoof that delivers its comedy goods and pokes fun at everything and anything, especially OSS-117. I give it a B+.

Master spy OSS 117, Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath (Jean Dujardin, "OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies"), is back with a vengeance, paired with Israeli colonel Dolorès Koulechov (Louise Monot) to roust a nest of Nazis in "OSS 117: Lost in Rio."

Cowriter (with Jean-François Halin)/director Michel Hazanavicius ("OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies") has pulled off the rare feat of making a sequel that is at least as good, if not slightly better, than the original with "Lost in Rio."  The film has nary a down moment and few of its jokes fizzle.  This is hands down the funniest movie of the year to date and it may just keep that crown by year's end.

Beginning with a 1967 Gstaad set prologue, OSS 117 protects a Chinese countess in a gun battle in which all participants are oblivious to bystanders - in this case the scores of Bond babe types OSS 117 seems to attract.  Then Hazanavicius gets down to the real business of Rio set Nazi hunting.

Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, a character actually created before James Bond but one who presciently parodied him, is good looking, vain, stupid and a racist Francophile.  And hilarious.  As embodied by Dujardin, de La Bath has the looks of a young Connery and body language that's nudged ever so slightly into ridiculous exaggeration.  He has paralyzing flashbacks to a homoerotic trapeze tragedy.  He marches into Rio's German Embassy and demands a list of Nazis.  Once he finds them, he tells them they can have their own country, 'just like Israel.'  OSS 117 (who, when undercover, corrects anyone who refers to him as OSS one one seven instead of one seventeen) is decidedly politically incorrect.

Hazanavicius keeps his film period bound with Dean Martin tracks and split screens carried to the nth degree.  Background phallic symbols abound from gushing fountains to Sugarloaf Mountain itself. An LSD beach orgy yields a gift that keeps on giving.

"OSS 117: Lost in Rio" is also educational.  Did you know that Jewish humor is 'when it has no humor and no talk of sausages?'  Now you will.  I have to go now - I see a Nazi.

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