© Prokino (FOX)

Super-Hypochonder (Supercondriaque)
France/Belgium 2014

Opening 10 Apr 2014

Directed by: Dany Boon
Writing credits: Dany Boon
Principal actors: Dany Boon, Alice Pol, Kad Merad, Jean-Yves Berteloot, Judith El Zein

French actor/director Dany Boon is back and, as in his former movies, pretty funny most of the time. Here two plots are intertwined. Good-looking Romain Faubert (Boon) is just 39 and should enjoy life, but it’s impossible. He sees germs everywhere and therefore, leads a very isolated life, which he doesn’t really notice. He is too busy going on-line to self diagnose, or rolling himself into the inside of a computer-tomography machine for another scanned check-up. Luckily, his profession: photographer for medical encyclopediaa, allows him close access to the medical world. His physician Dr. Dimitri Zvenka (Kad Merad) has accommodated Roman’s unnatural fears for years (to the point that Zvenka’s wife Norah – a psychotherapist – suggests latent homosexual feelings between him and his friend).

In the parallel plot, generous Dr. Zvenka and his sister Anna (Alice Pol) care for refugees who land on the coast of France. They welcome a new group fresh from Tscherkistan. Among them is the leader of that country’s revolutionary activities, Anton Miroslav (Jean-Yves Berteloot). Through a misunderstanding his identification card is mixed up with Romain’s. Miroslav leaves the point of entry with a false identity, which is excellent for his need to hide out. Romain isn’t too upset either, because Anna has fallen hard for “Anton,” without realizing that it’s really her brother’s hypochondriac patient. Romain finds it difficult to concentrate on avoiding invisible germs while attempting to fake the unfamiliar Tscherkistan language, in an effort to impress Anna.

You figure out the rest. Better yet see the film. It has many very funny segments, although they could have cut the last 12 superfluous minutes. The characters could all be people in your own circle of acquaintances – maybe you’ll even recognize yourself. In an interview Dany Boon admitted that he tends towards an aversion to germs. He opens doors with his elbow, refuses to touch stairway railings and washes his hands after punching the combination lock on his apartment door. Dany Boon also wrote, directed and starred in Willkommen bei den Sch’tis (Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis or Welcome to the Sticks) which came out in 2008 and is still the most-viewed film in France. That, of course, is quite an act to follow, but he keeps on trying, i.e., with Superhypochonder, his fifth film since the big Sch’tis hit. Kad Merad also played in the Sch’tis film and was ecstatic over the renewed opportunity to work with Boon. (Becky Tan)

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