The wide gulf between what the Americans and the French consider to be funny is well documented. Just this week, in fact, Entertainment Weekly addressed this in an article praising the often overlooked comedy career of Jerry Lewis. However, despite our many cultural differences, Hollywood has never shown any shyness when it comes to
ripping off borrowing ideas from successful French comedies for American remakes (think Three Men and a Baby, think Down and Out In Beverly Hills, think The Toy). And now, with word that a largely unknown French comedy called Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis (a.k.a. Welcome to the Sticks) has become the biggest-grossing film in the history of France, with some $192 million in box-office receipts, can an American remake be far behind?
Of course it isn’t! The writer/director of the film, a French stand-up comedian named Dany Boon, was just in Los Angeles last week meeting with Will Smith’s production company, who has bought the rights to the film. They are eyeing Steve Carell to play the lead in the remake, which revolves around a lovesick-drunk-of-a-post-office-employee who moves to a small town and has trouble identifying with the locals. Even though we imagine that American audiences might have some difficulty relating to the topic of linguistic humor, we have a good feeling that Welcome to the Sticks will at least be funnier than the last film to make repeated use of homonym jokes: Synecdoche, New York.