Lowdown: A hitman’s work is made complicated by a pathetic guy.
I didn’t rent A Pain in the Ass solely because of its title (its original French title is L'emmerdeur, which Google Translate says is "the troublemaker"). I like French director’s Francis Veber body of work: The Dinner Game was alright, The Valet was very good, but The Closet is listed as one of my all-time favourite comedies. It’s a pity Veber couldn’t keep things up in his latest from 2008.
A high caliber informant is making is way to court, escorted by an armada of commando policemen, in order to testify. His testimony is expected to step on too many sensitive nerves, therefore we are next introduced to a hitman setting up to shoot the informant as he arrives to court. The shooting is meant to take place from an overlooking hotel room where the bulk of the film takes place.
Another guest checks into the room next door to the hitman: Pignon (the usual protagonist’s name in all of Veber’s films). Shattered by his wife leaving him for her psychologist, Pignon tries to commit suicide. He doesn’t manage that, but he succeeds very well in becoming a pain in the hitman’s ass and ruin his plans for a comfortable and easy hit.
The best thing I can say about A Pain in the Ass is that at around 80 minutes it’s pretty short. Other than that it is unconvincing, under developed, and way too silly. When you see the wife that left Pignon you will understand why the film is unconvincing: There is no way the sexy Virginie Ledoyen, who plays the wife, will ever be married to a guy like Pignon. Even if she is a Veber regular.
Next we have motifs that hardly get any development, to the point where you wonder why they’ve been introduced in the first place (e.g., a couple riding a stolen scooter).
The biggest problem, though, is the silliness. Between Pignon’s hotel room escapades with the killer and the witness vomiting all over his security escorts, the humor here is a grade or two too low; certainly much lower than Veber’s better films.
Technical assessment: Quite a poor DVD, both in picture and sound.
Overall: I wanted to like this one, for Veber’s sake, but it was just too silly. It feels more like one of those silly films from the fifties. 2 out of 5 stars.