While it's not a great film, Pardon Mon Affaire is vastly superior to the annoying Gene Wilder Americanization, The Woman in Red. The basic premise of both films is the same: a man sees a woman's dress billow up, and instantaneously and in a manner that seems totally out of character decides he must have an affair with her. The surface elements of Affaire are not particularly different than Wilder's version, but the difference in the handling of them makes all the difference. Affaire mines the comedy without losing touch with the basic humanity of the story and its characters; it also manages to make the supporting cast more real and more important, even though they remain strictly supporting. As a result, Affaire has a sense of belonging in a real world, with characters whose lives affect each other and who have a genuine history and sense of connectedness between them. Credit director and co-writer Yves Robert for this, for he handles the material with just the right touch throughout. Robert is aided enormously by his cast, especially lead Jean Rochefort, who makes the audience care about someone who could come off as somewhat unlikable. Pardon Mon Affaire may miss greatness, but it's ultimately a thoroughly enjoyable and funny travel through a man's obsession.
by Craig Butler review