If you are under the impression that a far more discerning and sophisticated moviegoing public still exists somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic, I would direct you toward The Intouchables, an event-size hit in its native France and a bit of feel-good social-drama pandering that makes The Blind Side seem positively Renoir-esque in its delicate touch. A "Based on a True Story" announcement is invariably a warning that you're about to watch a movie in which nothing resembling human behavior is seen. The Intouchables details the unlikely friendship between multimillionaire quadriplegic Philippe (François Cluzet) and his live-in caretaker, Driss (Omar Sy), a Senegalese-born son of the banlieue. Moving into Philippe's gilded Parisian palace, Driss blows the dust off the place, prescribing his employer hash for his phantom pains, funking up a tuxedoed white folks' party, and dealing tough advice to Philippe's daughter's #firstworldproblems. With his ghetto-striver's preference for the shiny and new, Driss also liberates Philippe from the straitjacket of musty high-culture connoisseurship, which allows for tedious, ignorance-affirming cracks at modern painting and opera. The leads' charisma goes some small way toward softening the script's cudgeling sentimentality, but the overall effect is a drubbing all the same.
Sy (left) and Cluzet: Brace yourselves for the American remake.
Opens Fri., June 1 at Pacific Place. Rated R. 112 minutes.