Caterer Max Angély (Jean-Pierre Bacri, "The Taste of Others") faces the toughest job of his career orchestrating the wedding of a demanding groom at a 17th century French chateau. MIA staff is but one problem as those he does have on hand are giving him his share of headaches, including his assistant, who just happens to be his mistress, falling into the arms of one of his waiters in "C'est La Vie!"
"The Intouchables" cowriter/directors Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano once again adhere strictly to genre templates, but do so with such verve and wit they are like master plate spinners. They've also assembled a diverse and talented cast who bob and weave through at least a dozen separate, equally entertaining story lines.
Max arrives on site just in time to see Adèle (Eye Haidara, this film's breakout), who has been itching for more responsibility, in pitched battle with the event's DJ James (Gilles Lellouche, "Tell No One"). She's also let go one of their waiters as the result of one of Max's infamous 'autocorrected' texts. She offers up Samy (Alban Ivanov) as a replacement, a sweetly befuddled friend of hers who thinks the bass entree and champagne flutes are musical instruments.
As Max gathers his troops, the waiters wait for maitre 'd Henri (Antoine Chappey) to vocalize their concerns, but despite Seb's (William Lebghil) urging, he cannot get the words out. Josiane (Suzanne Clément, "Mommy"), frustrated that Max has still not left his wife, flirts outrageously with another coworker. Photographer Guy (Jean-Paul Rouve, "La Vie en Rose") gets in everyone's way and stuffs himself with canapes. The groom, Pierre (Benjamin Lavernhe), an obnoxious egotist, finds the DJ Max has substituted, James, gauche and Julien (Vincent Macaigne, "The Innocents"), a waiter rebounding from a nervous breakdown, discovers that the bride, Héléna (Judith Chemla, "A Woman's Life"), is his former love. All this happens before fuses are blown, the lamb spoils and a mysterious guest is rumored to be the IRS. And it's Max's birthday.
Many of these situations may seem familiar, even trite, but Nakache and Toledano take them to some unexpected places. Guy's middle school 'shadow' assistant, Bastien (Gabriel Naccache), delivers hilarious deadpan putdowns, then sets up Guy with a GPS dating app that points him toward the mother-of-the-groom (Hélène Vincent). Adèle and James's fiery shouting match sparks a flame of an entirely different sort. Pierre's big, planned midnight finale goes so spectacularly wrong, it enables Max's staff to come up with something unexpectedly beautiful, spinning a magical moment from simplicity just when he's given up on them.
The filmmakers use their stunning location for all its worth, inventive lighting sources gilding evening scenes. The diverse cast clicks in all the right ways. "C'est la Vie" leaves everyone in a better place than where they started save the poor bride, still married to Pierre at film's end.
Robin also gives "C'est la Vie!" a B.
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