Hey Boys and Girls, this here’s a new feature on the Booby Hatch blog in which we review movies! Films, even! Maybe web shows and banner ads too! Get on board, Space Coasters – OFF WE GO.
Alex: I just wanna begin by saying that I felt sort of robbed by The Château, an odd little gem from 2001. Based on the movie poster (below) I don’t think it was unreasonable to expect a madcap parade of hilarious cultural misunderstandings involving farm life, saucy nudity, and the repeated mispronunciation of French – basically, Benny Hill in Bourgogne. What The Château delivers instead isn’t bad exactly but is certainly…not that.
The film follows Graham Granville (played by Paul Rudd), an aimless fuckup from Lawrence, Kansas and his adopted older brother Alan (or “Rex” as he is known, played by Romany Malco) as they travel from Los Angeles to rural France to claim a castle inherited from a recently-deceased uncle. After overcoming the initial language barrier and the fact that the staff (who still lives in the castle) wasn’t expecting them, Graham and Rex develop a tenuous rapport with Jean, the butler, and Isabelle, the demure maid, but are then saddled with the responsibility of either selling or saving the crumbling home. Rex, a practical neat freak, wants to sell it immediately along with the staff (what?? Are we in feudal France?), presumably to shore up his small business that specializes in “solutions for premature ejaculation” (yeah – not nearly as funny as it sounds). Graham eventually agrees, but closing a sale proves harder than they thought – cue a droll cameo by Donal Logue as un sac de douche Americain interested in buying the property.
“Droll” really is the key word here, in its most literal French sense – the humor is…subtle, hinging on differences between the brothers (Graham leaves his shoes on the train- ha!), between France and America (much is made of Graham’s veganism, which the French clearly don’t “get” – at one point they serve him an entire boar’s head, hair and all), and between the respective languages (the dead uncle’s surname is Leconte – get it?? HOURS OF FUN.) I can say I enjoyed The Château, mostly thanks to Malco and Rudd’s respective charms; it just would have been easier if I hadn’t been expecting National Lampoon’s Gallic Vacation. The entire film is shot in a dim, grainy glow – it reminded me a lot of Watcher in the Woods – and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an elderly Betty Davis lurking around the castle instead of Isabelle, whose moony eyes started to creep me out. Maybe the cinematographer was trying to set a mood (I get it! The South of France is really brown and twiggy!), but the effect was less “art house comedy” and more “middle-period George Harrison music video”. There are some charming moments, to be sure: Rex yelling “Je suis le roi du château!!” and beatboxing with Isabelle, or every time Rudd attempts to speak French, but overall The Château suffered from a severe international identity crisis. Ladies?
Kath: They had me when Rudd said, “What am I going to do when I get to France?.. Love the ladies!” They lost me by playing bad porn music during the montage of Rudd and Malco driving up to the Chateau. They had me when Rudd started speaking English in a bad French accent since he knew few French words and they used English subtitles anyways. They lost me when Rudd went from charming dork to a cautionary tale you tell your daughters to avoid. I wish I could tell you it ended well, but I don’t actually remember. I blame the wine I drank.
Sabrina: As someone who has stayed in a town near Lawrence, Kansas,* I can assure you that Paul Rudd does a really funny, weird dance-walk as he and the guy who was also in The Forty-Year Virgin stroll through the village in France. Remember when Paul Rudd danced on The Daily Show ? This scene was JUST LIKE THAT, except if the Daily Show studio was a village in France, Jon Stewart was that other guy, and instead of having a really good camera and a professional crew, I just shot it on my iPhone. Totally worth the price of admission!!!!** I laughed; I cried; I doodled a picture of Paul Rudd’s smile on a napkin.
Oh, I can also tell you that it took me about half of the movie to figure out who the other guy (Romany Malco) was. I honestly can’t tell you anything about the first part of the movie at all, because I was too busy yelling, “Wait, who IS that guy? I know him from somewhere!” Finally, my husband told me who he was as he rolled his eyes and finished the last of my peanut-brickled iced cream. It was then I realized that I have become an eighty-year old woman.
So, if you would like to see Paul Rudd do one of his silly and charming dances, and you would like to get in touch with your inner grandmother, I highly recommend watching this movie right away.*** If you would like to see Paul Rudd get his dance on, but want to skip the flick, check this out!
*Kansas City. I do have a friend who lives in Lawrence. I think he just directed The Odd Couple. Now that’s a movie!! Hey, maybe they should just remake The Odd Couple with Paul Rudd and the other guy from this movie.**** I bet that would be pretty good. They should probably get a new camera though. And some lights.
**I watched this movie for free on the Netflix, says this grandmother.
***I just remembered that the end of this movie kind of makes you say, “Wait, hey, why did that happen? That doesn’t make any sense at all.” And then, if you’re me, and/or you are eighty, you will spend the next twenty minutes explaining why that was a terrible way to end the film and going over the 47 reasons why. This is the reason I am no longer allowed to watch Brewster’s Millions or The Money Pit.
****That guy was in Weeds? Yeah, I guess so.
Kath: The Forty-Year Virgin!! THAT’s who that guy is! Jay-z-us, that took years off my life. I still don’t remember how it ends.
Oprah & Ebert-style Book Club G-chat:
Sabrina: So do we want/need a rating system? 3 boobies up?
Kath: That’s a great idea! I give it 1/2 a wormy boob.
Alex: I give it one boob with stretch marks.
Sabrina: I give it two old-lady boobs out of five nice 20-year old boobs. Wait…what’s the scale?
Alex: I thought it was outta three.
Sabrina: Oh, ok, then it’s one old boob.
Alex: But seriously, were you two as confused as I was about like…what the hell kind of movie the director wanted to make?
Sabrina: Was there a director? I thought someone just used a flip cam. Paul Rudd’s wife maybe.
Alex: *puts on research goggles* It was directed by Jesse Peretz, who at the time was best known for directing that Foo Fighters video where they pretend to be in a Mentos commercial? Also THIS, which I will admit to enjoying.
Kath: I don’t “do” links. what is it?
Alex: Our Idiot Brother – Jesse, you’re alright with me. You’re like pizza and funerals. You bring people together.
Kath: The Château had potential… then went wackawoo.
Sabrina: It’s crazy. The butler guy who is his uncle pretends to die, then for SOME reason, this makes them not sell the house and give it to the hot maid, then she goes to Barcelona on a train with her toddler ?????? (oh wait did I just reveal one of the big reveals? not really)
Alex: Yeah, how are we supposed to feel when she takes off? “You go girl”? Cuz I was confused.
Kath: The writer couldn’t figure out how to end it.
Alex: I agree. Or they ran outta money.
Kath: They should have put endings in a hat and just picked one, instead of giving us a wet fart and a handshake. Example: lots of talk about how the black and white dudes were brothers, but no back story.
Sabrina: Yeah. I felt like they thought they could get a lot of mileage out of that hilarious joke.
Alex: Ok, so in a prequel who would play Graham and Rex? Jaden Smith?
Kath: Please no.
Sabrina: And Fred Savage?
Kath: Maaaaaybe his son…if he has one. That dude is our age.
Sabrina: Martin Short, dressed like a kid?
Kath: I vote Martin Short!!!
Alex: Oh sure; Jaden Smith could totally act opposite Martin Short and hold his own.
Sabrina: Does the prequel begin in a karate school or is Peter Falk reading to them?
Kath: Peter Falk is teaching karate!
Alex: Ok, anything else we wanna say about The Château?
Sabrina: *tries to make loud fart noises so that Kath will have to shhh me*
Alex: *begins the ever-popular “armpit fart”* Beans I’m totally editing this into the post.
Sabrina: That’s the stuff! We are the best. I want to marry us.
Kath: *actually farts*