OSS 117: Lost in Rio (2009)

OSS 117: Lost in Rio (2009) – After The Artist, I was looking forward to seeing what else the Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanvicius and Oscar-winning star Jean Dujardin had collaborated on. I discovered a delightful spy spoof from a few years back called OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies. Using a previously existed French spy character (that actually predates James Bond), Hazanavicius and company deftly lampooned the tropes of the genre in a parody and homage to classic spy films (with more than a knowing wink at the James Bond series). Dujardin brought a callous ignorance to the otherwise suave secret agent, often ignorant of and uninterested in the cultures he is sent to infiltrate. It was pretty damn funny. Anyway, a couple years later a sequel was produced, OSS 117: Lost in Rio. The first film really seemed to cover most of the bases but maybe some more humor can be found right? The American spy spoof Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery produced a pretty funny sequel… and also one that wasn’t that great, so it really makes the case both ways.

It is the 1960s and OSS 117 (Dujardin) is being sent to Rio de Janeiro to retrieve a microfilm from a Nazi war criminal named Professor von Zimmel (Rüdiger Vogler). The microfilm has a list of Nazi collaborators currently occupying positions of power in the French government and, not wanting to be exposed, those officials are sending OSS 117 to give von Zimmel a bunch of money. In Rio, OSS 117 meets a sexy Mossad agent named Dolorès Koulechov (Louise Monot) who wants to bring von Zimmel to Israel to stand trial for war crimes. They track down von Zimmel’s son Heinrich (Alex Lutz), who is a part of the 1960s free love movement. OSS 117 needs to find von Zimmel, retrieve the microfilm, and somehow seduce Dolorès despite her being constantly offended by his less-than-enlightened perspective on Jews. Also there’s LSD use and an orgy.

OSS 117 spends the credits partying with a bunch of sexy women in Gstaad, Switzerland. Some Chinese thugs come by and try to kill OSS 117 (as they will periodically through the film). After a shootout that leaves everyone but OSS 117 and the woman he’s there to protect dead (bystanders included) he says “that almost got bad.” That’s the kind of joke this movie does best. Lost in Rio is definitely a step down from Cairo, Nest of Spies but that just be because the first film caught me off guard as such a delightful surprise. There is still a lot of humor and charm present in this film. Jean Dujardin has one of the most expressive faces in cinema and this kind of role suits him perfectly. Also this movie has a lot of nice-looking women in it. I know that’s not an objective criterion for judging quality cinema, but it sure as hell doesn’t hurt. As a sequel, OSS 117: Lost in Rio is a “more of the same” kind of a deal… but that’s not really a bad thing here. If you liked the first film, check it out.

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