OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is better than OSS 117: Lost in Rio. But that’s like saying that a strawberry malted is better than a chocolate malted. Hey, they’re both malteds: you really can’t go wrong!
Lost in Rio, set in 1967, follows French superspy Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath as he ventures to Rio to find a microfilm listing the names of collaborators during the Nazi occupation of France. His technique? Waltzing into the German embassy and asking, “Do you have any lists of Nazi sympathers? Nazi clubs? Kaffee clatches, that sort of thing? I mean, you are all German, after all.” This does not bode well.
And so Lost in Rio grooves along, with OSS 117 happily blundering about, oblivious to the fact that he’s an idiot. As with Cairo, Nest of Spies, that’s pretty much the whole gag. He’s good-looking. He’s suave. He’s a meathead. Why does this work? I have to credit star Jean Dujardin, who appears to have studied under Leslie Nielsen. No matter how nutty things get, Dujardin keeps a straight face, smarmily content in the obvious superiority of his Frenchness. It’s silly and funny and over the top, and I laughed all the way through it. If there were an OSS 117 tv series, I’d watch it.