Laughing At You, Not With You: The Trailer for THE INTOUCHABLES.

Posted: May 22, 2012 in Awfulness, Movies (I), Opinions, Trailers.

That’s The INtouchables, not The UntouchablesThe Untouchables is a good movie which I’d have no problem watching again anytime.  Let’s have one excellent moment together before the darkness descends.

That was nice.  Now back to The Intouchables.

Here’s how IMDb describes The Intouchables:

After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caretaker.

Here’s how the otherwise terrific IFC Center described The Intouchables when it played there this spring:

A phenomenon in France, where it shattered box-office records to become the second most successful film of all time, The Intouchables tells the true story of the unlikely friendship between a handicapped white millionaire (François Cluzet) and his unconventional Senegalese caretaker (breakout star Omar Sy). A Weinstein Company release.

And here are trailers:

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Now I’m going to make fun of this, and I don’t think I care who it offends.

The reason I say that is because the only people who I care about offending are the same exact ones who would be offended by the very idea of this movie.  Maybe it’s not my place to advocate for the groups who are diminished by a movie like this one, but remember what Edmund Burke said — “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  In other words, if I’m not able to make fun of a movie released in 2012 where a rich white guy hires a poor black guy to be his manservant and we’re expected to see it as uplifting just because he’s in a wheelchair, then we all lose.

How patronizing, facile, clumsy, calculated, shallow, insincere, maudlin, ignorant, superficial, saccharine, simplistic, etc., etc., infinity, can one trailer be?  You might be able to get away with this shit in Europe, but don’t go bringing it to my country and expect me to receive it with a gentle kiss on both cheeks.  To be fair to the filmmakers, I’ve not seen the entire movie.  But to be fair to myself, I ain’t never gonna.

I saw the trailer at the front of a DVD I watched recently, and my hatred immediately ignited as soon as the following exchange transpired:

“These street guys have no pity.”

“That’s what I want… no pity.”

Holy shit, dude.  Not “Hey, you’re wrong about those ‘street guys’, and you shouldn’t generalize, my privileged racist friend”, but “You’re totally right about those black guys — I mean, street guys — and that’s the kind of cruelty I need!”

It’d be a lot easier to take if there weren’t an adorable lil’ Hitler joke a minute later.

Or how about the way that the white guy becomes a quadriplegic from a hang-gliding accident, and instead of learning his lesson from it, just straps himself to the black guy so he can go hang-gliding again, with cruddy Snow Patrol or whatever that song is soaring on the soundtrack with the wings of a moronic eagle.

I hope there’s a scene where the “street guy” reintroduces the wheelchair guy to the pleasures of the flesh and the herb:

I thought so.

How sweet. Hey, I didn’t know this was a bittersweet comedy about how a lowly thug teaches a self-defeating rich man how to love life again by helping him to smoke weed with Asian hookers. If I had known that, I wouldn’t have been so nasty.

Let’s take a look at some production stills and see if we can’t predict exactly what happens in this movie…

“This is the guy behind the guy behind the guy.”

“Well, Wheelchair Guy, I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”

Youre the man now, dog!”

And of couse there’s a scene where the Senegalese guy helps the wheelchair guy win a race against two people on Segways.  The fucking French.

“You’re gonna eat lightnin’ and you’re gonna crap thunder, Wheelchair Guy!”

Nineteen-million French people can’t be wrong, huh?

Honestly it’s not as much the French who are annoying me here.  They don’t know any better.  They don’t have the history with racism, both onscreen and off, that our country has.  Even beyond the repulsiveness of this premise (it’s Finding Forrester meets Awakenings! The Blind Side meets The Christopher Reeve Story!) in the context of everything that has happened in real life in America from slavery to Rush Limbaugh, the lame conventions of modern cinema are strong with this one.  We should be beyond this shit by now.  It’s just as offensive to have a magical minority character who brings joy to the wealthy whiteys as it would be to have a stereotypically villainous minority character.  It’s a bad joke if you’re awake, but I’m sure it could appear sweet and affecting if you’re not keyed into this stuff.  That’s why I’m disappointed in Harvey Weinstein, a savvy businessman who should have more of a social conscience — The Weinstein Company picked up The Intouchables for distribution in the States and bought the rights to a remake.  With any luck, Meryl Streep and Tyler Perry can star in a Garry Marshall film and everyone involved can make a bundle off everybody in America who never actually met anyone of another ethnicity.  See, if you actually have a diverse social circle than you know that we’re all just people.  Nobody has mystical abilities, and no one’s problems are solved by anything so easy as a kite ride.  It’s either ignorant or consciously exploitative to sell a movie like this — now which kind of wrong do you want to be?

Maybe I’m the asshole, but I don’t take The Intouchables any more seriously than I take this:

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According to the Wikipedia entry on The Intouchables, a Nina Simone song was appropriated for the movie’s soundtrack.  That’s a bit of blasphemy.  Nina Simone would have fucking HATED this movie on sight.  I super-promise it.

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If I’m wrong, enlighten me.  But if I’ve got a point, then please hate thoughtfully.  I’m findable on Twitter: @jonnyabomb

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