OSS-177: Lost in Rio

Written by:
Elgy Gillespie
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OSS-117: Lost in Rio

Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Written by Jean-François Halin and Michel Hazanavicius
Starring Jean Dujardin, Louise Monot, Rüdiger Vogler, Alex Lutz, Reem Kherici
Running time: 97 minutes
MPAA Rating: Unrated

Two parts James Bond to one part Monsieur Hulot, one part Frank Drebbin of Naked Gun, and yet another part Pink Panther, Monsieur Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath enlivens this painlessly silly knock-off as OSS One-One-Seven, France’s number one secret agent.

As spoofed by the ineffable Jean Dujardin, whose sideburns alone are a ringer for Sean Connery, “Agent One-Seventeen”-his preferred moniker-is both hilarious and occasionally flagging by turns.

In OSS-117: Lost In Rio, 117 womanizes his smarmy Gallic way from Paris to Rio in this sequel to the cult triumph OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies. Color, cinematography, clothes, and cast nail Bond-era fab sixties fluff perfectly; just watching the cutting is funny.

Though the satire is Gallic-nutty French names that are no doubt very hilarious to Francophones, un-PC jibes that must have them rolling in the aisles-the spoofery is broad and slapsticky enough for anyone who ever saw an Austin Powers comedy, and then some. When we first see 117, he is surrounded by Japanese geishas, shooting his way out of a Tokyo ambush; shades of Connery that rapidly dissolve into farce

On assignment in Copacabana, 117 must purchase damning microfilm containing the names of French collaborators with the Nazis during the Occupation, still a touchy topic in France. “It is on microfilm. That list must be very tiny,” deadpans 117 seriously, and I bet in French cinemas they wet their pantalons. The incriminating list is in the hands of a notorious Nazi in hiding (Rudiger Volger). Also pursuing the microfilm are three Mossad agents, including a mini-skirted  beauty (Louise Monot) whose boots and miniskirt arouse 117’s outrageously sexist and racist gaffes as he mistakes her for his secretary.

Also in hot pursuit of the Nazi’s microfilm is Tremendous, a CIA agent inspired by Bond’s pal Felix in Dr. No, the Nazi’s hippy son Heinrich, a pair of Mexican wrestlers, sundry Chinese hit men, some tips to the hat to iconic Hitchcock frames and a long and satisfying acid trip on Ipanema that turns into a Woodstock-style love-in. A sojourn in the Amazon jungle with a mean crocodile and a showdown, Nazi-style, in Brazilia — and it’s around now that action flags somewhat and that we wish the gags were fresher, though 117 rebounds in time for a finale on Corcovado, North By Northwest-style.

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