Malik Bentalha wins his bet with his first adventure comedy Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde

Omnipresent in the landscape of French comedy, Malik Bentalha had not held a leading role in the cinema since 2019. After having quickly passed a head in the Irreducible of Jerome Commander last June, the actor and humorist made his big comeback and put on a new hat, that of director. Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde is the first feature he co-directed with Ludovic Colbeau-Justin, to whom we owe Lion with Dany Boon and Philippe Katerine. The baptisms of fire behind the camera are generally an opportunity for an apprentice filmmaker to provide the basics: directing actors, putting a screenplay into images, while ensuring a minimum of the general performance of the film.

For his part, Malik Bentalha has decided to venture into the winding terrain of adventure comedy, a complex and often puzzling sub-genre that alternates between parody and reverence for great Hollywood cinema. Like Ben Stiller in the essential Thunder in the tropics, he also officiates as an actor and portrays the famous Jack Mimoun who gives the title to the film. A host of a famous adventure show à la Bear Grylls who is offered by a young woman named Aurélie Diaz (Joséphine Japy) to go back to the island of Val Verde where he almost lost his life. The reason for this trip: to go in search of a priceless treasure, the sword of a pirate nicknamed “La Buse”, alongside his manager Bruno Quézac (Jérôme Commandeur) and a mercenary, Jean-Marc Bastos (Francois Damiens).

Between laughter and the spectacular, the grotesque and the emotional

From a postulate that is altogether classic of adventure film, Malik Bentalha and Ludovic Colbeau-Justin sign a generous comedy that manages to find the balance between laughter and the spectacular, the grotesque and the emotion. ofIn pursuit of the green diamond at IndianaJones, we feel the young director’s obvious passion for American cinema, which he cites with all his might and takes malicious pleasure in recreating it in his own way. The script co-written with Florent Bernard and Tristan Schulmann gives pride of place to the essential motifs and obligatory passages of the adventure film. Even if he does not revolutionize the imagination of the genre or the way lush jungle landscapes are usually portrayed in Hollywood, Malik Bentalha is never stingy with ideas and ambitious action scenes, despite the means limited at its disposal (a budget estimated at 14 million euros). On a little over 100 minutes of feature film, the bet is taken up hands down.

Unsurprisingly, the film is much more comfortable when it entrusts its performers with the reins of comedy. In this sense, Jérôme Commandeur and François Damiens embody the perfect duo to give this Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde the humorous verve it needed. Oscillating between the grotesque and the gritty, the two actors have a field day orchestrating irresistible moments of comedy that illuminate the film. The effectiveness of their acting is all the more eloquent in the face of the performances of Joséphine Japy and Benoît Magimel, very involved in their characters to the absolute first degree. Noted in My unknown by Hugo Gélin in 2019, the actress turns out to be the most beautiful surprise of this first film, whose character, both candid and adventurous, sets the tempo of the feature film. Behind the diversions of parody and the big muscles of the action film, it is she who best embodies the commitment and sincerity of this first attempt which has everything to become the great success of French cinema for this purpose. of year.

Malik Bentalha wins his bet with his first adventure comedy Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde