Francis Veber wrote and directed this film adaptation (with animated opening credits) of his own play, Le diner de cons, about a competition among a group of friends to see who can find the stupidest person to bring to dinner (as indicated by the original French title, since "con" means someone who's a total dumbbell). The dinners are held each Wednesday night, and French publisher Pierre Brochant (Thierry Lhermitte) has found a world class nincompoop -- Finance Ministry accountant Francois Pignon (Jacques Villeret) who uses matchsticks to build small-scale replicas of monuments. Things quickly go awry after Pierre wrenches his back at golf. He nevertheless makes an effort to attend the dinner with his prize dunce. Francois arrives at Pierre's luxury apartment, but Pierre is in such pain they never exit the apartment for the dinner. Instead, Pierre is trapped in a situation where Francois' stupidity turns his life into a comic hell. In 1993, Villeret created the role of the dimwit onstage during 600 performances of a 27-month run, and the play also had a 1994 London production. In addition to Veber's Oscar-nominated screenplay adaptation of Jean Poiret's La Cage aux Folles (1978), reworked into The Birdcage (1996), other American comedies originated in French screenplays by Veber -- The Toy (1982), The Man with One Red Shoe- (1985), Three Fugitives (1989), and Fathers' Day (1997). Shown at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
by Bhob Stewart synopsis