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OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

Posted: June 13, 2008 at 9:52 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

This French send up of Bond/Spy films is a mostly successful effort that provides the laughs and plays its cards right on most occasions.
We open up on a scene of Hubert Bonisseur (OSS 117) and his partner Jack Jefferson during WWII as they steal a set of blue prints from a Nazi officer, in a minor action set piece to start the film off with a bang. Flash forward 10 years later as we watch OSS 117 swoon an Egyptian princess out of an envelope containing the pictures of a dead Jack Jefferson, which leads Hubert to flashback to a silly game of laughter and paddle ball on a beach. French OSS decides to send Hubert to Cairo to investigate Jack’s death and to take over the chicken business that is the front for the OSS in Cairo.
The movie follows every convention you would find in a classic Bond or spy film and spoofs the genre particularly well. It includes pretty women for the hero to swoon, one that plays hard to get, anonymous henchmen, and masterful plot driven villains. Hubert is suave, smooth talking, and knows how to dance particularly well. Every element is there, the film just does an excellent job at poking fun and putting a silly spin on the genre that keeps it seeming fresh and entertaining.
The film works so well due to the success of Jean Dujardin just absolutely nailing the title role of Hubert, OSS117. He is hilarious in playing the dim-witted, but maybe not, agent who is just as interested in being loved women while being seen as some one special and important wherever he goes. Dujardin nails the look and charisma of the role and is a joy to watch.
He is supported in the film by Bérénice Bejo, who plays the straight laced and attractive assistant at the OSS’s chicken business front, and guide to Cairo’s city and culture, even if Hubert really isn’t all that interested. She plays the straight man wonderfully here and bounces off Dujardin very well. The rest of the cast does an excellent job playing their parts in the fun to perfection just nailing all of the stereotypes they are supposed to be filling.
The films look also nails it right on the head and looks like it could be from the period and filmed back in the day. The color is rich and the camera cuts are hilarious at how bad and awkward they could be. The plot also takes all the right turns and even though it is predictable, they add enough comedy to keep you entertained; and anyways, it is supposed to be blatantly silly and predictable.
Any complaints come from a couple of lost jokes in translation as well as a brief awkwardness and odd set of scenes before the finale kicks in that just didn’t sit right and was all in all weird. Luckily, the final scenes are great and funny and the film definitely ends on a high note that it is hitting most of the time.
In the end, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, is a great spoof film that hits all the right notes and is thoroughly entertaining. This is a solid little flick worth seeking out if you can find it, especially if you are a fan of the classic spy movie genre and Bond films of old.