It's a cheap truism to say that Hollywood has run out of new ideas; after all, critics have been saying it for decades. Still, Hollywood also has a decades-long history of borrowing ideas from an unlikely source: French-language movies. This week's 'Dinner for Schmucks,' based on the very funny 1998 French farce 'The Dinner Game' ('Le dîner de cons'), is only the latest example of a trend that stretches back more than 70 years and includes dozens of remakes.
It's curious why this should be so. It's not like there's a significant foreign-language film audience in America that will go see these remakes based on their fondness for the originals. Besides, French cinema is very different from Hollywood cinema; it's so much more nonchalant about depicting casual infidelity, casual philosophizing, and casual smoking. Still, a good idea is a good idea, no matter where it comes from.
Then again, that's also true of a bad idea. Below, we've listed five of the best French-to-English film adaptations, five of the worst, and five more that were noteworthy. Which (if any) of these lists does 'Dinner for Schmucks' belong on? Come back to this post after you've seen it and let us know.