A Pain in the Ass (1973) Poster

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Monsieur Milan!
michelerealini2 October 2005
"L'Emmerdeur" (1973) is the French movie which originated a US remake directed by Willy Wilder -"Buddy Buddy" (1981), starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. It was the last Wilder movie, not bad at all, but this original one is far better.

French star Lino Ventura and Belgian singer Jacques Brel were friends, they shot their first film together with Claude Lelouch "L'aventure c'est l'aventure". They wanted to team again and chose established comedy director Edouard Molinaro for adapting this movie, written by Francis Veber -who later became another master of French comedy...

A gangster named Milan takes a room in a Montpellier hotel, which is located in front of a Tribunal. He has a mission -shooting from his window for killing the key witness of a trial. In the room next to his there's a man, François Pignon, who is desperate instead. he wants to commit suicide because his wife quit him. The meeting of the two originates a series of accidents and misunderstandings...!

The comedy is excellent, with two actors in a really good shape. The highlight is that Brel and Ventura characters are so different and have nothing in common. Each, in his own side, is not funny -one is serious and cold, the other is sad and loser. BUT their combination is absolutely comical. (The way Brel calls Ventura -"Monsieur Milan!"- is irresistible!)

It's a high quality comedy, one of the most famous ever made in France. Edouard Molinaro directed other great comedies -among them two films with Louis De Funès and "La Cage aux folles", the gay comedy starring Michel Serrault and Ugo Tognazzi. Molinaro is at ease in making "L'Emmerdeur", many scenes are also shot by himself carrying a camera on his shoulder...

But the other leading person behind this film is, as already said, Francis Veber. His lines and situations are typical of the comedies he'll direct later -among them "La chèvre" with Depardieu and Pierre Richard, "Le diner des cons" and "Le placard". There's his recognizable style of creating strange situations -Veber likes putting in his films two completely different actors and creating comical situations from that.

Another thing: Jacques Brel's character is called François Pignon. It's the same name Veber uses in his other films for one of the two leading roles -the name itself has become synonym of an awkward, unlucky, naive and a little stupid person...!
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nicholas.rhodes2 September 2004
One of the many great comedies from France from the 1970's, and a commodity which is seriously lacking nowadays in that country ! It is now available in France ( March 2007 ) on DVD, and please note that the DVD has English Subtitles if required. Ventura was a great actor and Brel, though hopeless as an actor, occupied a part which didn't need a great actor. Brel in this film can get on your nerves at time, just like Michael Crawford in "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em" but despite this, the spectator has a good time ! The catchy, almost wailing, theme music by François Rauber (played on a whiny accordeon) is typical of many French films from the sixties and seventies and serves as a way of identifying the origin of the film. Given that now both the main protagonists of the film are dead, the sound of this accordéon is particularly nostalgic. The recipe of two character-opposed central characters is often a central tenet of French cinema ( Richard / Depardieu, Depardieu/Reno, De Funes/Carmet, De Funes/Bourvil ...... and Ventura/Brel in this film )and has been used with success to make generations of moviegoers laugh ! Francis Veber had a large had in this film although its director was Edouard Molinaro - is it any surprise then that one of the characters has the name François Pignon. Indeed, BREL is the ORIGINAL François Pignon. The character was subsequently interpreted by Pierre Richard, Jacques Villeret, Daniel Auteuil et alia ............
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Classic Black Comedy
Martin-13117 July 1999
This is one of those films that is so funny, it makes you (well me anyway) smile just to remember it.

The essential storyline is of a professional hitman and a guy that he finds he can not get rid of. (The English translation of the title is pain-in-the-behind.)

This is black comedy done to perfection with a brilliant gradual build-up. It starts straight-faced so, if you do not know what you are watching, it could be any old thriller. Gradually the gags come in until it reaches a manic pace.

The two stars are the completely deadpan Lino Ventura and the songwriter Jacques Brel.

It is sadly under-rated and hard-to-find. Seek it out!
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The original of Buddy, Buddy
hakapes21 May 2005
Watching movies 'backwards' is an interesting experience. There are so many good titles out there that were shot before I was born or I was grown up enough to have a chance to see them. Buddy, Buddy is one of them. However, looking at the critiques, I discovered that this is again a remake of a great French movie, L'Emmerdeur. Last time I have seen Ture Lies first, than I watched La Totale!, which was quite a disappointment, as the US version was just way much better, more money, better actors, etc. So now, I have decided to watch L'Emmerdeur first and just then Buddy, Buddy.

Although the movie was not fast as a paced action movie, the 80 minutes went by quite fast. I liked the atmosphere of the film, which is typical for French movies of this time: simple setup, small budget, great ideas and great actors. I just loved the funny situations and little jokes throughout.

The other attraction of the movie is the great Belgian singer, Jacques Brel (1929-1978). Although not French, he's a characteristic of French pop music of the 20th. Although he played in a number of movies, he's really not talented for an actor, the only other movie of his that worth a watch is 'L'aventure, c'est l'aventure'. However, as a composer/singer, he was fantastic, just browse to jacquesbrel.be to discover.

In case you're a fan of French movies as I am, this is a must to watch. However, as time has passed, L'Emmerdeur brings enough entertainment only for a Saturday/Sunday afternoon for the big audience, strongly recommended for family watch - 7/10.
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Still funny after all these years
bob99818 August 2006
This is one of the last good comedies Molinaro was able to make, before he got stuck in Cage aux folles-robotic entertainment. Pairing Lino Ventura and Jacques Brel was a wonderful idea: one is so dour and methodical, the other so emotional, helpless, a real loser.

The hotel scenes are very well set up; there is a claustrophobic feeling about the layout of the suites. The water seeping through the door into Ventura's suite from Brel's bathroom after the suicide attempt prevents Ventura from concentrating on assembling his rifle--very well handled by Molinaro. The clinic scene, with Ventura ending up in a strait-jacket is a marvelous four-way comic piece with Caroline Cellier and Jean-Pierre Darras joining the two principals.

Now, if someone will bring back La Mandarine (with an impressive Annie Girardot) and L'Homme pressé, two more great Molinaro pictures from the 70's, my happiness will be complete.
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1 + 1 = Laff Riot
writers_reign26 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
At last this standout has been issued on DVD which is promoting it as the film that introduced the world to Francois Pignon. Perhaps not uncoincidentally the DVD appears at a time when screenwriter Francis Veber has adapted his screenplay - he wasn't yet directing - for the stage with Richard Berry as Ralf Milan and Patrick Timsit as the eponymous pain in the ass. In an interview printed in the program for the play Veber speculates on why Billy Wilder's remake, Buddy, Buddy, was so disappointing; Veber suggests that Walter Matthau had such a backlog of outstanding comedy roles behind him that it was difficult to accept him as a dispassionate hit-man. There's probably something in what Veber says because the opposite is true of Lino Ventura who LOOKS dangerous and had an equally impressive backlog as a gangster in French polars. One early scene illustrates this perfectly; driving to his assignment he stops in a diner and inadvertently parks in front of a large camion. When the trucker, a big guy, gets ready to leave he lets out a squawk when he is unable to get out. The counterman taps Ventura as the culprit and suggests he move his car but quick. 'I'm finishing my coffee' he says quietly, the juggernaut jockey springs forward to confront him face to face. 'I'm finishing my coffee' says Ventura just as quietly and just as menacingly and the big guy backs down. It's difficult to imagine Matthau being as effective as that, Lee Marvin, no problem. The plot obeys all the rules of farce in which one person or even a group of people have a deadly serious objective and are single minded in trying to achieve it whilst a chain of unconnected events spin out of control around them preventing the task from being accomplished. Milan has been hired by the mob to take out a witness when he is brought into the court at exactly two.p.m. and he clings to that objective tenaciously despite the chaos surrounding him initiated by Francois Pignon, Jacques Brel. Veber's screenplay is so tightly constructed that it hardly matters that Jacques Brel is to acting what Jim Carrey is to Greek Tragedy. Veber's masterstroke is to delay the revelation that this is a farce by spending a whole reel establishing a polar and only gradually permitting his real intention to become evident. Even after twenty years it still comes up fresh.
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This film essentially is a study of characters bet...
Jabberwock3 July 1999
This film essentially is a study of characters between a loser (Jacques Brel) and a hit man (Lino Ventura).

This film, like many French comedies, has a Hollywood counterpart, "Buddy Buddy", with Walther Mathau and Jack Lemmon. Although not bad, the remake is nevertheless deceptive, as we were expecting much more from a movie in which the two principal characters are played by such great actors.
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A gentle French comedy of errors
blackmorea12 September 2004
I liked this film, not really belly laugh funny, but the situation comedy that Lino Ventura and Jacques Brel get themselves into, can be very humorous. Ventura plays an assassin who is trying to do a job, however he gets caught up with Brel's annoying and suicidal hypochondriac, foiling his attempts, by trying to commit suicide in the room next door to the room Ventura is in to do the hit. This causes the police to be called to the hotel. When they arrive however, Ventura persuades them that Brel is a friend and he will look after him and get him back on his feet. He decides to get rid of Brel, so that he can continue on his original task, but then ends up helping him to settle the score with his wife, who has left Brel for a rich medical doctor and that is when the real fun starts...!
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The Hitman's Buddy.
morrison-dylan-fan13 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Having a bit of a rubbish week offline,I decided that I would cheer myself up by watching two Comedy films.A fan of him in Noir's,I felt it was the perfect time to see the comedic side of Lino Venture.

View on the film:

Playing up to his tough guy image,Lino Venture gives a fabulous performance as Milan,with Venture's strained, agitated facial expressions being those worthy of a Silent Comedy. Irritating all he comes into contact with, Jacques Brel takes care that this irritation of Pignon does not spread to the viewer, by giving Pignon a misplaced sincerity towards Milan,which causes all situations to go from bad to worse. Breaking his play out of the hotel room, the screenplay by Francis Veber finds hilarity in making Milan and Pignon absolute misfits, with the cold, hard glances of Pignon being smashed by the cliff-edge emotions of Milan.

Gathering the duo in a hotel, Veber smartly spends the opening 30 minutes playing Milan's hit man and Pignon's depression straight, that gives the avalanche of trouble that comes after a feeling of Pignon and Milan having an inability to stop themselves from getting pulled into each other's troubles. Making the physical Comedy look impressively effortless, director Édouard Molinaro & cinematographer Raoul Coutard load up Milan's troubles with slick tracking shots and sped-up car racing that tracks every attempt Milan makes to free himself from the pain of Pignon.
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The original, and the best !
RealLiveClaude26 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This movie inspired the less successful "Buddy Buddy" which starred the Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon team. However, the original is better for many reasons here.

Hit-man comes to Montpellier, France to recoup a failed assassination attempt of a witness about to tell all about the Mob. However, a depressed businessman who is about to lose his wife gets in the way, and trouble ensues...

Great rendering by the late actor Lino Ventura (who did tough guys role throughout his career and had a fan base in Quebec, shot a couple of movies in Montreal...) and late poet/singer/actor Jacques Brel as the depressed Francois Pignon (who is a staple character to Francis Veber's many scripts, if we can remember "Le Diner De Cons" and other movies).

Well written and real twists along the way. No matter this hit-man called this guy "annoying" (translated from the title in slang French: "L'Emmerdeur"). But this original still prevails from the failed remakes that followed (to all due respect to the original "Odd Couple" of Matthau and Lemmon).
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the nice hitman
pierrealix11 April 2001
This Movie came out in France after summer 73 and become quick one of the biggest hit ever in this country.. because it starred Lino ventura ,by far the most beloved french actor (although from Italian origin)in the funny character of a poor hitman who just cant do his job..people were delighted to see this tough guy annoyed by Jacques Brel although no one understood why he didnt strangle him at the third minute...But the incredibly bad acting by singer Brel makes this movie a never-ending bore. Strictly for Ventura Fans.
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