The Chateau | Chicago Reader

The Chateau

Spirited comic improv between Paul Rudd and Romany Malco buoys this charming digital video, about two American brothers, one black and one white, who inherit a decaying mansion in the French countryside. Rudd, a sincere hipster from Lawrence, Kansas, wants to rehabilitate the chateau and provide for the servants still living there; he falls for one of the maids (Sylvie Testud), a soulful redhead with a two-year-old son, but she's more inclined toward his adopted brother (Malco), a quick-witted entrepreneur from Los Angeles who wants to sell the chateau and funnel his share of the money into his penile-enhancement business. Writer-director Jesse Peretz (First Love, Last Rites) based his screenplay on his own cultural misadventures in France, and the film gets surprising mileage from the old gag of an American butchering the French language. An even bigger surprise is Malco, a rapper and record producer whose only notable acting gig to date has been playing MC Hammer in a VH1 biopic: pungently funny in his arguments with Rudd, unexpectedly sensitive in his encounters with Testud, he walks away with the picture. 92 min.

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