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My Best Friend (Mon Meilleur Ami)

(2007) *** Pg-13
94 min. IFC Films. Director: Patrice Leconte. Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Julie Gayet, Dany Boon, Julie Durand, Jacques Mathou.
Patrice Leconte's pleasant comedy-drama proposes a hero with no friends. Antique dealer François (Daniel Auteuil) is an expert at taking advantage of others, but a failure at the give and take of friendship. When his business partner (Julie Gayet) bets him he can't produce a best buddy, François soon realizes he's at a loss. Fate thrusts into his path a talkative, trivia-spouting cabbie (Dany Boon), whom François hires for lessons in being "sociable, smiling, sincere." Naturally, they bond over time, and their burgeoning friendship faces major tests, all involving money. Auteuil and Boon (who worked together in The Valet) play well off of each other, and Jérôme Tonnerre's script is charming and thoughtful enough to offset its unrealistic turns and hesitancy to go to greater comedic and/or dramatic lengths. Despite the conventionality in its plotting, My Best Friend shows a genuine, welcome interest in opening dialogue on the value and character of platonic companionship.
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