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Would I Lie To You?

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2004-11-08

A scene from Would I Lie To You

The French comedy Would I Lie To You? (15) was a big hit with Jewish audiences back in its home country, but apart from the occasional film festival screening UK audiences have been denied the chance to see it – until now that is. For seven years after it was made it's finally received a cinema release.

The story revolves around Eddie Vuibert (Richard Anconina) a non-Jew who is down on his luck – he has no job, no money and is about to be made homeless unless he can pay his rent. His fortunes change when he is offered a job working in a Jewish garment firm – but his boss is convinced he's Jewish, and he's forced to keep up the pretence in order to stay employed – something which is complicated when he makes friends within the Jewish community and falls for his boss' daughter Sandra (Amira Cesar).

Ultimately, this works on the age-old fish-out-of-water theme, leading to some very funny scenes as our clueless hero tries to convince his new-found friends that he is of the faith (one sequence, in which he attends a Shabbat dinner in an Orthodox home, is particularly memorable). And Anconina (looking rather like a Gallic version of Dustin Hoffman) is appealing in the lead, backed by good work from the support cast.

But for all its plus points, Would I Lie To You is just too complicated for its own good, throwing in so many characters and tangled storylines that at times it's hard to keep up with what's going on. While it offers plenty of insight into the quirks and foibles of French Jewish life, it eventually slips into a sub-plot involving a botched business deal which detracts from the central storyline and does the film no favours. It's enjoyable enough, and worth a look if only to see the kind of Jewish movies that are being churned out on the continent, but you can't help feeling this isn't quite as great as it could have been.