This is the latest French hit comedy, that has been filling the salles here since it opened last month and which I saw a couple of nights ago. I was originally not going to bother with it but a friend whose taste I respect gave it the thumbs up. Hollywood Reporter’s critic—the only US one who seems to have seen it so far—also liked the pic (French reviews have generally been good, with those by spectateurs on Allociné particularly enthusiastic). His review begins
A bunch of forty-something buddies find their dinner date transformed into a dinner disaster in What’s in a Name? (Le Prenom), an amusing and well-acted French farce in the pure tradition of boulevard classics Le Diner de cons and Le Pere Noel est une ordure. Adapting their highly successful stage version to the screen with keen comic-timing but much less cinematic panache, Mathieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patelliere offer up a lively take on love, friendship and baby-naming that should titillate Francophone audiences and upscale offshore distributors.
I thought it wasn’t bad. On the laugh-o-meter it’s not quite at the same level as ‘Le Dîner de cons‘ or ‘Didier‘, not to mention the marvelous ‘Potiche‘—now those were funny films—, but it does have its moments. Quite a few, in fact. It will be appreciated, in particular, by those with a higher degree in the liberal arts (entre autres, the pic makes sport of left-leaning French academics and their milieu). It’s very much like Roman Polanski’s ‘Carnage‘, in that it is set almost entirely in a living room, with highly educated, middle-aged adults farcically going at one another. It will eventually make it to the US, where it will be a sure-fire hit among the foreign film-seeing crowd.