Mike: A solo double feature at the Angelika the other day - I saw this and A Cat in Paris. The Intouchables was a huge hit in France and elsewhere in Europe, and now it's coming to the US, hoping the captivate audiences like it did oversees.
First off, the feature starts off here in the US with a completely unrelated music video by Paul McCartney featuring Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman. If you want to find out how bad a theater's sound system is, listening to a music video can be a pretty good indicator. The Angelika already has an issue with noise - you can hear the subway run underground every few minutes - and some of their sound systems are in dire need of upgrading. The smaller theater where I saw A Cat in Paris later seems to have fixed its problems - I'd been in that room before and had to suffer through a disastrous nerve-grating soundtrack. All that said, once the movie itself started, the sound issues weren't nearly as noticeable.
As for The Intouchables - why people are going gaga for this film is beyond me. It's a 102 minute string of uncomfortable, cringe-inducing situations. Have you ever watched an episode of a comedy series on The Disney Channel, as an adult? I couldn't help but be reminded of these shows due to the over-the-top, over-annunciated performances that favor constant exaggeration over nuance and subtlety. I felt embarrassed much of the time.
Had The Intouchables not been masked by its French soundtrack and had it been a regular English-language film, I think it would have been easily dismissed by everyone like The Soloist or that Sean Connery movie where he says "You're the man now, dog." That's basically the category this film falls into - lame inspirational culture-clash stories, except this is even worse. It's predictable, riddled with cliches, schmaltzy beyond belief, and worst of all, it has an extremely obnoxious performance from Omar Sy, a cross between Jar-Jar Binks and Eddie Murphy in those god-awful family movies he keeps doing. Breakthrough performance my ass.
Still, much as I hate to say it, if you have parents in their 60s or 70s, this is probably a movie they'd enjoy.