Director: Radu Mihaileanu
★ ★ ☆☆ ☆
Andrei (Aleksei Guskov) works at Moscow’s Bolshoi Orchestra where he was once a great conductor but is now a cleaner. But when he intercepts an invitation to perform in Paris, he gathers a ragtag bunch of old friends and colleagues to pose as the Bolshoi even though it’s been 30 years since they played together. Most of the would-be comical adventures come in the build up to the concert, as Andrei and his co-conspirators try to get by with no money and no instruments. There’s also some mysterious business with the famous soloist (Melanie Laurent from Inglourious Basterds) who’ll be playing with them and hopeless subplots concerning political manoeuvring, scams and missing musicians, all of it making for screwball antics of no consequence. Everything is loud and frantic and played as big as possible by an admittedly game cast, but the height of the humour seems to be Allo Allo-style translation mishaps. It’s the kind of over-excited nonsense that would have them rolling in the aisles in France but here it’s tedious, clumsy and irritating before deciding that it doesn’t actually want to be a galloping farce anymore but an emotional fable. The moral of the story is never trust a comedy from a country that thinks Jerry Lewis is funny.