Nesting with Spies

If you watch only one slapstick spy comedy based on a mid 20th Century television show this year, skip over the recent Get Smart Hollywood-studio product and choose instead the French film OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies. The movie is set and staged as if it were produced in the 1950’s, but the main character finds himself up against a wide range of spy networks, from anachronistic Nazis to Egyptian rebels.

The relatively clueless agent 117 is a joy to watch. His eyebrows fascilitate a wide range of cartoonish expressions, and he thrives on the attention of whatever audience he can find (kind of a problem for a spy). Agent 117 goes to great lengths to prove his heterosexuality to those who hint otherwise. The film is loaded with double-crosses and tripple-crosses, most of them primarily an occassion to watch Agent 117’s reactions. Though the movie is chock-full of silliness and spy-film cliches and contains few real surprises, it has a playful heart at its center.

Espionage, romance, lots of gun-pointing, tou dans le bon amusement. All in good fun.

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