Wednesday, February 29, 2012

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

After foiling a treacherous Nazi plot midair in 1945, our story begins 10 years later as our hero, Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath aka OSS 117, is sent to Cairo to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a fellow agent, who had been fronting as a the owner of a chicken farm. While on assignment, 117 manages to skirt danger at every turn, bed a few birds, and even nearly cause a holy war before wrapping things up tidily in typical spy movie fashion. Like his recent Oscar whirlwind "The Artist", Michel Hazanavicius's Bondlike spy spoof is an ornate and loving replication of a genre picture. Jean Dujardin, whose Conneryesque looks were often referred to during awards season, is excellent as the inept, insensitive, and charming lead, and Berenice Bejo, the director's wife and Artist costar, is stunning as the Bond girl. While the look of the film, particularly an underwater skeleton graveyard scene, is exquisite and the stars are engaging, the film is overlong and overly silly without garnering the laughs of an "Austin Powers."