De père en flic


For starters, two djoumiesque statements: 1) Émile Gaudreault is the most crowd-pleasing director in current Quebec cinema. 2) “De père en flic” is his best movie to date. He might not be as show-offy as Erik Canuel, but he’s as effective as the “Bon cop, bad cop” director in the way he uses the tools of moviemaking (cinematography, editing, music, etc.) to push an audience’s buttons. Most importantly, since he’s a co-writer on all his films, his voice is more consistent. That doesn’t mean he’s foolproof, but you can at least be assured that all his films will possess his sense of humor and a sincere attempt to back the laughs with heartfelt emotion.

Subtlety isn’t his greatest skill and in a film like “De père en flic”, which is simultaneously a cop movie, a father-son story and an ensemble comedy set during a camping trip, formulas and clichés abound. But the whole thing is so slick that it really works at being alternately funny, touching and thrilling, and it even manages to surprise us once in a while.

As the mismatched policemen protagonists who also happen to be father and son, and who must infiltrate the aforementioned camping trip to attempt to squeeze some information out of the big-shot lawyer (Rémy Girard) of a murderous motorcycle gang leader (Jean-Michel Anctil), Michel Côté and Louis-José Houde have great chemistry and have a lot of fun throwing snappy one-liners at each other and taking part in the physical comedy bits.

Around them, the rest of the almost all-male cast (Patrick Drolet, Robin Aubert, Luc Senay, Normand D’Amour, Clermont Jolicoeur, etc.) delivers as well, and in the somewhat thankless part of Houde’s on-and-off girlfriend, the ever resourceful (and gorgeous!) Caroline Dhavernas still manages to make a good impression.

I saw “De père en flic” in a packed, just about sold-out theatre, and it was tangible that I wasn’t the only one thoroughly enjoying myself. Men and women, young and old, film geeks and casual moviegoers alike were having fun. Making truly crowd-pleasing movies is a talent that’s generally not recognized enough, so let me reiterate that Émile Gaudreault’s got it in spades. Few of his peers even come close.