Seeking French Comedies / Why Is Netflix Searching So Bad?
August 12, 2013 9:30 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I greatly enjoy French comedies (recent examples inside). Netflix's proprietary Obfuscatron-4000 searching system has cleverly adapted to our viewing tastes by making French comedies difficult to identify and put in our queue. Can you recommend additional titles that are available on Netflix, either on disc or streaming?

Recent films we've enjoyed have included:

Romantics Anonymous (Les Émotifs Anonymes)
My Worst Nightmare (Mon pire cauchemar) (really, anything with Benoit Poelvoorde is pretty good)
Park Benches (Bancs Publics / Versailles Rive Droite)
Change of Plans (Le Code a Changé) (ditto for Dany Boon)
La Potiche
L'auberge espagnole (not great)
All Together (Et si on vivait tous ensemble?)
Any and every Jacques Tati film (although Tati is really a genre to himself)
(and Amelie, of course)

Again, we're limited to Netflix--so we'd love to see Rien à déclarer with both Boon and Poelvoorde, but that doesn't seem to be available. We watch mostly foreign films as a general matter but find that we like French comedies best, though we enjoy Spanish (e.g., Almodovar) and Italian (e.g., Gianni di Gregorio) comedies as well.

Bonus question: Can you recommend a better way to search Netflix? What I'd like to do is stack tags (i.e., French + comedy + after 2000, say), but Netflix seems to want me to choose between "foreign comedies" and "French language" and then just hunt. Obviously, we use directors, actors, and writers to locate movies, but they frequently span genres, so that's not the most efficient.
posted by Admiral Haddock to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Le Prenom.

Saw it in the theatre. Laughed so hard I cried. I don't get it on Netflix Canada but you might get it in the US.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:32 AM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Regarding your bonus question, give insantwatcher a while.
posted by Perplexity at 9:39 AM on August 12, 2013 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Perplexity, I've seen that site before, but it doesn't seem to allow stacking either (unless I'm missing something). Here's foreign comedies--do you see any way to limit that to French comedies? It still is just brute force searching--and a lot of the films are using a translated title, and have no cast or crew listed, making it hard to parse (plus, it's just streaming, so there's no saying what additional films might be available on disc).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:18 AM on August 12, 2013

Here are French comedies on Instantwatcher. But it's obviously not a complete list. Here are French language films on Instantwatcher.

Method by which I came up with those: searched for "French," then clicked on the appropriate keywords that are suggested.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:06 AM on August 12, 2013

I enjoyed La Doublure (known as "The Valet" in English) - it does appear to be available on Netflix. It's a pretty classic modern madcap/zany French comedy.
posted by ORthey at 11:06 AM on August 12, 2013

I saw all these French comedies on Netflix DVDs:

Le Valet
0SS 117: Cairo, a Nest of Spies and OSS 117: Rio (both are a scream with Jean DuJardins spoofing James Bond)
The Dinner Game
The Taste of Others
La Bûche
Les Intouchables
The Women on the 6th Floor
La Cage aux Folles (the original French film of it)

Yes Netflix drives me nuts with their algorithm on French comedies; Amazon Prime is impossible. Sorry, I'm too rushed at the moment to link them.
posted by Elsie at 11:07 AM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here's a list of French comedies that were on Netflix when the list was made.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:08 AM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

PS: On Instantwatcher, if you click on the links you'll see a way to limit the film results by date.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:09 AM on August 12, 2013

The Intouchables was sweet and funny, if not a little contrived. But it has some great parts. It seems like it's available on Netflix.

Also: Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis -- which I heard is great, but I haven't seen. I've seen the Italian remake though 'Welcome to the South' which is very funny. I can't see either on the database though, so you may not be able to get those.
posted by Dimes at 12:21 PM on August 12, 2013

In addition to La Doublure, I liked Le placard (The Closet) by the same writer/director (Francis Veber). It's on Netflix, or at least it was.

These movies also came up in this thread which you might find useful.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:38 PM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Triple recommend OSS:117 -- Cairo, Nest of Spies is better, but they're both just ridiculously great. That's how the team who made The Artist financed that movie. Jean Dujardin has the body language and expressions of the 1960s down to a science.
posted by Madamina at 7:30 PM on August 12, 2013

It didn't do well on Rotten Tomatoes but I loved Les Visiteurs (The Visitors ) - it should be available for streaming on Netflix.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 7:51 PM on August 13, 2013

Seconding La Placard, along with most of Daniel Auteille's canon. He might be best known in the US for a thriller, "Cache," but he's very funny. I can't think of his movies right except for "La Valet," where he has a supporting role as a bad boyfriend to a supermodel.

Seconding also Les Intouchables, which appears at first to be a heartwarming movie about a friendship, the struggle of the immigrants, the handicapped, blah blah blah, it's a really funny, laugh your ass off movie with two engaging characters-- the weight of their life situation just makes the humor of these two guys even more powerful. Calling it anything other than a comedy is to sell it short. It stars François Cluzet, who was, I believe, cloned from cells taken from Dustin Hoffman when he was about 20.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:32 PM on August 15, 2013

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