What made me laugh so much when I saw Radin! was the willingness from the screenwriters to dare to go overboard. François Gautier (Dany Boon), the film’s main character, is not merely a penny pincher (a “radin” in French), he is the MOTHER of penny pinchers. The lights are never switched on in his home. At any time, in any rooms. At night, if François needs to read something, he waits for the street lamp posts to switch on. He showers in cold water. He brings a calculator to the grocery store to make sure that the cashier did not make any mistake. François is a classical violinist and music teacher. Trying to collect some money for a colleague’s retirement party is near impossible. When he sees the collector coming his way (accompanied by a John Williams Jaws-like score), François goes into hiding as if he was avoiding the plague. But François shows up at the party. How could he miss out on all that free food and free wine. When she was pregnant with François, his mother was conditioning him not to be like his father, a debt-ridden miserable man. As an adult, François is a miserly miserable man. François is very conscious that he has a problem. Instead of seeing a psychiatrist, François consults his banker. Maybe he wants to change, but he just hasn’t found the right incentives to change. And one day François gets the unexpected visit of Laura (Noémie Schmidt), his teenage daughter. He did not know. That’s what happens when you buy expired condoms. As you can see, the topic allows the writers to come up with a never-ending torrent of jokes, peppered with the right amount of pathos. Radin! is the ideal project for Boon’s considerable comic talents. Funny one moment, then suddenly touching and physically showing us how François is actually affected by his economic neuroses. A hunched back, he keeps his head lowered, avoiding the stares of disapproving colleagues and friends. François is not a happy person. Schmidt and Laurence Arné, as François’ unlucky new girlfriend, are good, but Boon is the drawing card here. And so is that great comedy screenplay.
Radin! (Penny pincher!)
In French with English subtitles.