Le grand role

A Jewish actor in Paris (Stephane Freiss) lands an audition with a revered Hollywood producer (Peter Coyote) to play the part of Shylock in a Yiddish-language movie of The Merchant of Venice, sparking controversy among his Jewish buddies. Director Steve Suissa, who adapted this 2004 French feature from a novel by Daniel Goldenberg, handles the politics of the story well enough, but the second half involves the actor and his girlfriend (Berenice Bejo) in one of those elaborate but benign sitcom hoaxes that have become popular in European art movies (Since Otar Left . . . , Good Bye, Lenin!). Coyote has a few good moments as a culturally arrogant Spielberg type, but the movie's comedy and romance are both tepid. In French and Yiddish with subtitles. 89 min.

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