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French connection is irksome yet compelling

The Baltimore Sun

My Best Friend, like so many French farces, tries to conjure a laughing soul from a comedy machine. Happily, even when the machine breaks down, the soul remains. Patrice Leconte's wide-screen situation comedy about a self-centered art dealer, Francois Coiste (Daniel Autheil), who bets his business partner, Catherine (Julie Gayet), that he can produce a best buddy in 10 days, has an enveloping friendly spirit that fills the cracks when the plot breaks into smithereens.

Even the setup contains irritating flaws: For example, Catherine sets the wager in motion because Francois has never asked about her private life - she jolts him when she introduces him to her attractive lesbian lover. But Francois' own warm and elegant lover, Marianne (Audrey Marnay), does not seem perturbed that he takes the bet without considering her as his possible best friend.

My Best Friend (IFC Films) Starring Daniel Aueuil, Dany Boon. Directed by Patrice Leconte. Rated PG-13. Time 90 minutes.

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