De père en flic [Father and Guns] (2009)

(On DVD, May 2010) For such a small market, Québec cinema has proven uncommonly adept at finding the recipes required to get audiences in theatres.  In this case, take a respected actor with a good track record (Michel Côté), pair him off with a hip comic (Louis-José Houde), put them in a situation that combines family comedy with criminal intrigue and watch the results.  As is the case with nearly any other Québec comedy hybrid, the film is first played for laughs, and then for criminal thrills.  The movie’s entire middle third is spent yakking it up at a remote camp for estranged fathers-and-sons, with mud-wrestling, Gen-X/Boomer generational complaints and occasional reminders that there is a hostage drama going on elsewhere.  Only De père en flic‘s first and last minutes are concerned with the cops-versus-criminals premise, which is just as well given how it’s the comedy rather than the thrills that made this film such a success at the French-Canadian box-office.  It actually works pretty well: The script may occasionally indulge its stars in going for the cheap laughs, but the generational conflicts have more substance that you’d expect from a light summer comedy, and actually have something to say about today’s Québec.  De père en flic may be a far better farce than a criminal thriller, but that’s not much of a problem.

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