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Claude Zidi has been one of the standard-bearers of the cinema du samedi soir—the purely commercial French cinema that normally never crosses the Atlantic. That this film not only found an American distributor but swept the French Cesar awards was less a tribute to some newfound inspiration on Zidi's part than a demonstration of the law of averages: do one thing long enough, and someday it's bound to work. Every element of this tale of a lovably corrupt police inspector (Philippe Noiret) and his straitlaced new partner from the provinces (Thierry Lhermitte) is ultraconventional, yet the elements have been fitted together so smoothly and in such just proportion that the film gives real pleasure. Much of the credit must go to Noiret, an expert in that antique craft of winning and holding an audience's affection and complicity. With Regine, Grace De Capitani, and Julien Guiomar.

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