La Totale! (1991)
A film directed by Claude Zidi

Genre: Comedy / Thriller

Film Review

La Totale! photo
Thierry Lhermitte and Miou-Miou top the bill in this well-intended but somewhat over-the-top thriller parody from director Claude Zidi. Although there are a few very funny comic sequences, and the basic premise of the film is an appealing one, Zidi doesn't quite manage to pull this one off. (Lhermitte's previous collaboration with Zidi, Les Ripoux (1984) is a much better film.)  The pace of the film is uneven, some of the dialogue is painfully trite, and the parody sequences are too “obvious” to be really effective. That said, there are a few plus points. Michel Boujenah is terrific as the mysterious Simon (is he Arthur Daley's apprentice or Osama Bin Laden's second lieutenant?), the episode with the bugged handbag is hilarious, and the scene near the end where Miou-Miou is accidentally transformed in "Mrs Terminator" has to be seen to be believed. Not the most sophisticated or well-oiled of comedy thrillers, but La Totale! just about passes for entertainment.

As often happens with popular French comedies, an American re-make of the film hit the screens a few years later. Directed by James Cameron and starring none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, True Lies (1994) proved to be an international hit, and a rare exception of an American re-make being better than the original French film that inspired it.
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Film Credits

Directed by Claude Zidi
Starring: Thierry Lhermitte, Miou-Miou, Eddy Mitchell, Michel Boujenah, Jean Benguigui
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