Review: 'The Cop, the Criminal and the Clown' 

"The Cop, the Criminal and the Clown" is a fun, charming mistaken-identity comedy that’s got the perfect light touch and the kind of whimsy that isn’t seen in mainstream Hollywood movies.

There’s nothing too complicated, yet it’s not vapid, either. There’s even a teeny lesson about doing the right thing that goes down easy.

Filmed in Montreal and in French with English subtitles, the movie tells the story of Vincent (Roy Dupuis), a good-natured, bearded, bushy-haired petty thief who goes to a job only to find that the residents have moved out. The only thing left to steal is a goofy painting of a clown, which he promptly sells for a few bucks at a little yard sale in front of his apartment.

But he soon finds from low-life thugs (stylish veteran French actors Anémone and Luke Mervil) that a couple hundred thousand dollars were stashed inside the painting, and he’s responsible for getting the cash back.

He goes on the run, cuts his hair and imitates a priest before he gets into a scrape that brings police to the scene. But instead of arresting him, the cops greet him warmly, thinking he’s one of their fellow officers who’s out of the office on vacation. He just happens to look exactly like their colleague Claude.

Vincent’s pal Marius (Michel Muller), a fellow thief, convinces him to take on the cop’s identity, if only as a way to help him recover the lost money fairly quickly and easily.

Of course, in the course of impersonating Claude, he bumps up against the crooked cop (Alan Shearman) who’s taking payoffs from seemingly everyone, and is partnered with the prettiest member of the force, too. Driving their patrol car, Lucie (Lucie Laurier) is surprised that Claude seems to have subdued his sexist attitudes.

Director Alain Zaloum oversees the proceedings with glee; all of the actors seem to be having a ball. Dupuis is particularly adorable, making the bumbling criminal (and cop) with a heart of gold much more than a cliché.

The Cop, the Criminal and the Clown ***½

Starring Roy Dupuis, Anémone, Michel Muller, Lucie Laurier, Alan Shearman, Luke Mervil

Written by Luis Furtado, Fred de Fooke

Directed by Alain Zaloum

Not rated

In French with English subtitles

Running time 1 hour, 32 minutes

Playing at The Lumiere

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Leslie Katz

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