Shut-Up! (Tais-Toi) review

Mystifyingly granted a British release nearly three years after it opened in France, this mediocre comedy squanders the talents of a classy cast. Gérard Depardieu plays the hulking, chatty robber Quentin, who’s described by his shrink as “not insane, just incredibly dumb.” He escapes from jail with calculating career criminal Ruby (Jean Reno), an ultra-laconic type with a fortune to retrieve from hiding.

Written and directed by Francis Veber, Shut-Up! never achieves the escalating comic hysteria essential for great farce. Instead, the script falls back on car chases and tedious gags about whoopee cushions, cross-dressing and the mentally ill. A romantic interest is introduced in the shape of an Albanian illegal immigrant (played by an, erm, South American), while a sentimental streak ensures Ruby learns a predictable moral lesson from his idiotic pal.

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