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'Apres Vous'

Praised be the gods that this rom-com is French. If not, we'd be haunted by visions of a Focker-ish Dustin Hoffman rescuing a suicidal Tony Shalhoub then orchestrating the TV germophobe's reunification with ex Lisa Kudrow. Vive la France! Saving another—decidedly less gorgeous—self-destructive (the first, Girl on the Bridge's Vanessa Paradis), Daniel Auteuil charms as a selfless maître d' who takes pity on a loveless schlub (José Garcia). Invariably Auteuil falls for his despondent ward's ex (Sandrine Kiberlain), which is the extent of the plot's complexity. Auteuil's craggy face sags with earnestness, but his goofy vulnerability carries the film. The humor—light and sweet as street vendor coffee—rarely exceeds the hilarity of Garcia scrawling scarlet letters ("bloody bitch") on his nearsighted grand-mère after discovering she's hastened his relationship's demise, but as genre fare, Après Vous is saved by its irresistibly sympathetic performances.

 
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