The instant Philippe (rich, white, cranky, paralyzed) meets Driss (poor, black, cranky, strong), he becomes taken with Driss' naïveté. Driss is unlike anyone Philippe has ever dared to come into contact with. He’s loud, crass, and completely unfazed about how he is negatively perceived. But the most important character trait within Driss, and the one Philippe becomes so enamored with, is his gusto for life. He drives fast, takes drugs at leisure, paints when he feels like it, drinks when he’s in the mood, dances in public – he’s a guy who does what he wants when he wants. In the past, Driss' life philosophy has landed him in trouble (when we meet him, he’s come off a brief stint in jail), but under the guise of Philippe’s bottomless pocket, Driss’ eccentricities become acceptable.
Problem is, you’ve heard this story before. We’ve all seen the unlikely caretaker who comes in and shakes things up. The groggy old man slowly regains his meaning for life, the poor dope finds his purpose, the two form an undying friendship, and all’s well that end’s well. Basically, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with The Intouchables, it’s just something we’ve seen a dozen times over.
Look, The Intouchables is a perfect way to spend two hours on a Sunday afternoon. It’s gentle, safe and honest, but nothing more. It certainly doesn’t rewrite the limitations set by the buddy film genre, but then again, it isn’t exactly trying to, either. B-