French comedy may not be to everyone's taste, but a chance to catch France's most successful movie is one that should be taken. With 17.4m tickets sold so far, only 'Titanic' has taken more at the box office. But Dany Boon's second feature may yet sail by the mighty ship on its way to further success.
Post office manager Philippe (Merad) dreams of a new life in the sun for him and his slightly depressed wife Julie (Felix). Tired of waiting for promotion he takes things into his own hands and when they backfire his punishment is a two-year contract in the city of Bergues, in the north of France. For a southern man this is a fate worse then death.
Choosing to go it alone and not allow his wife suffer, he agrees to return home every fortnight to stock up on culture and heat before heading back north. It's only when he arrives and is welcomed by his co-workers and residents that he realises that the myths about the north of France are untrue, and what lies beneath its gruff exterior is a warm heart.
Unable to convey this to his wife, Philippe continues to exaggerate his extreme conditions until Julie decides to pay a visit to lift his drooping spirits. What will she find upon arrival? Will he have to confess that his snobbery has been based on mistruths?
Great Gallic farce, misunderstood situations, language barriers and eccentric characters fill this small town and big screen as Philippe learns the true meaning of being French. Using a great pun on words and mannerisms, Boon does not have to use crude jokes or language to get a giggle from his audience, instead relying on the comic genius of his leading man - a sort of French David Brent - whose heart is in the right place even if at times his brain and mouth are not connecting.
Although losing some of its humour due to subtitling, the theme here is universal: how preconceived notions of other territories can be so misguided and how easy it would be if we could all just get along.