"The Intouchables" is breaking box office records in France, but, once you forget the sub-titles, the feel is more Hollywood – but good Hollywood – "The Odd Couple" meets "The Bucket List".
Philippe, having been a financially successful adrenalin- seeking businessman, has suffered the double whammy of losing a much loved wife, and becoming quadriplegic after a paragliding accident. He is interviewing for a carer.
All Driss, who begins the film like Eddie Murphy on steroids, is wanting is a signature attesting that he has been looking for a job, so he can continue on welfare. His in-your-face self-confidence and brash humour intrigues Phillippe, who hires him.
From an opening that tries too hard, the film soon becomes an engaging double act, with delightfully observed humour and a determination on the part of both characters to avoid mawkishness and sentimentality. Warmth, humanity, and humour make this tale of an unlikely friendship memorable.
There is an excellent supporting cast, including a Maserati Quattroporte (for the unenlightened, that's a car – but what a car!) This is a good film, which narrowly misses being a great one. The grouch in me is not impressed by the fact that Hollywood is already planning a re-make – even if Colin Firth is believed to be in the cast – and even if they keep the Maserati.
Go see the original French version – it's well worth a visit.