Dany Boon, has missed a golden opportunity to delve into the psyche of a nation known as the pill popping champions of Europe with his latest outing as director, Supercondriaque. There is much comedy is to be found in poking fun at the French habit of running to consult a doctor at every sore throat or stomach ache. Instead the main character’s obsession with his health serves only as a pretext for a series of running gags for Boon around antiseptic hand wash and the oral transmission of bacterial infections. Boon is Romain Faubert, a 39-year-old single man who works as a photographer for an online medical dictionary. His excessive worries over his health are the bane of his doctor’s life. Dr Dimitri Svensk (Kad Merad) correctly diagnoses Faubert’s real illness as chronic loneliness and decides to help him find a partner through an online dating service. This simple enough storyline then takes a bizarre turn into a look at France’s immigration policy, police brutality and terrorism in the Balkans. Delicate subjects for a crowd-pleasing comedy. Using the age-old comic device of mistaken identity, Boon does manage to raise a titter or two, but it’s hardly groundbreaking comedy. And the same jokes are run past the audience time and again, squeezing out every last laugh. For the last six years, Boon has struggled to recreate the success he enjoyed with the massive hit Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis. Drawing an audience of over 15 million, the film still holds the record as the second most successful French film of all time. For Supercondriaque, Boon has brought back Merad from the Ch’tis who does his best, but it’s difficult for such a talented comic actor to be reduced to Boon’s wing man. And the other characters are so lightly drawn as to be almost invisible. French audiences love Boon, but his last film Eyjafjallajokull directed by Alexandre Coffre failed to strike a chord. Supercondriaque puts Boon back in the director’s chair, but this tired, comedy-by-numbers feature is unlikely to be a recipe for success.
DVD subtitled in English