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The Chateau

Starring: Paul Rudd, Romany Marco, Sylvie Testud, Didier Flamand, and Donal Logue.
Directed by: Jesse Peretz
Rated: PG-13



The Chateau is hysterical. Starring uber cuties Paul Rudd and Romany Malco director Jesse Peretz has taken a small step to breaking down the barriers viewers have against DV feature productions. The Chateau is still juggling the devils of DV (grainy compositions, lighting nightmares, and that dreaded home-style family video look) but still delightfully shows how talent and the performance can triumph over blooming technology. The three stars are for the cast's impeccable performances which we would not have been privy to were it not for DV's affordabilty; aka "the trade off."

The Chateau is a simple story about two American brothers that have inherited a fancy ultra swanky chateau in France. They travel over to the place hoping they can sell it and reap the financial rewards.

Graham Granville (Paul Rudd) is a neurotic open kind of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and is a tad…er….quirky. His adopted brother Allen Granville (Romany - scene stealer - Malco) is more hip and suave with a can do attitude….he's kind of blunt. The combination of the yin and yang personalities is where much of the dilemma and humor lies.

When they arrive at he chateau the servants of the estate are none too pleased. So when the two "loud" Americans advise they are selling the chateau all mayhem breaks loose.

The Chateau houses some very shady characters…. the butler, Jean (Didier Flamand), is not all he seems to be. Then butlers never are…the shy chamber maid, Isabelle (Sylvie Testud) is fast becoming the object of both brothers' affections while the creepy cook Sabine (Maria Verdi) and the grounds keeper Pierre (Philippe Nahon) pretend they do not understand a syllable of English. Pierre in total hatred for the new "owners" goes so far as to pull a Norman Bates routine when their perspective château buyers appear starry -eyed checkbook in hand.

It is obvious early on the two brothers will not be taking over the chateau as simply as planned.

Paul Rudd is amazing in this. His Graham fellow a well-rounded comical character that pops off the screen. Which is pretty amazing since he was given just an outline of what he was to create in Graham. Paul's an underrated actor that hopefully, with this talent showcase, will raise the eyebrow of a few Hollywood types that can keep him working. He certainly raised my eyebrow - if you get my blatant sexual innuendo! Paul's like an apple pie cooling in the sill…sweet and delectable piping hot and ready to covered in vanilla ice cream and devoured! Yum-o-rama!

Speaking of yum-o-rama…. there's a new studmuffin to be on the look out for. Romany Malco. Romany was dynamic in his scenes. Besides being super swell on the retina, this guy can act! He was witty, exact and comfortable throughout the film. Romany is a cholate eclair of man yum. Keep your eye out for him!

The French cast Peretz wrangled pretty much just reacted to the "loud" Americans. It was campy predictable and still roaring funny!

The Chateau is shot on DV but handled like film. The scenes are wonderfully detailed and the details plenty. A lot of trust was given to the actors. Peretz gave them his outline of a script (a storyline) packed them up, ran over to the south of France small crew and oodles of tape in tow, and shot. You could say he pulled a Christopher Guest since the delightful cast improv'd ninety percent of the dialog. One of the funniest scenes, in a big ol' chateau filled with funny scenes, is in the hands of actor Donal Logue who plays a Hollywood money guy who's flown into to check out the Chateau to purchase as a swanky new stomping ground for the stars like Stephen Dorff to jet in to. He almost makes "classless manpig" a loving description….

DV is nowhere is clear and beautiful as film and the quality differences are immediately apparent. However if the acting is this superb one almost forgets the grainy distracting parts. The Chateau is plain old funny. Forgive the medium's almost indecipherable night scenes, and the Monet like shots of the countryside and get into the performances…. then you will love this. Enjoy!

Snack recommendation: Warm croissants, chilled pate, relaxed brie and expensive wine.

The official site is very FUN!


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