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“The Intouchables”

Movies based on true stories don’t get much more feel-good than “The Intouchables,” the Golden Globe-nominated French film adapted from Abdel Sellou’s bestselling memoir. Though it didn’t make the final cut for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars (probably because the source material was a little too lighthearted for those misery-loving Academy voters), “The Intouchables” is one of the most crowd-pleasing movies that I’ve seen all year, boasting an infectious charm that had me grinning from ear to ear. In fact, it’s hard to imagine the film being quite so enjoyable were it not for the excellent chemistry between stars Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, both of whom deliver solid performances in their respective roles. And though it must have been tempting to turn Sellou’s book (about his time as the caretaker for a quadriplegic aristocrat) into a melodramatic tearjerker, credit goes to directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano for staying true to the upbeat spirit of the story, because it’s what makes “The Intouchables” such a thoroughly entertaining film.

Blu-ray Highlight: Unfortunately, the only bonus material included on the disc is a collection of five short deleted scenes, none of which really add anything to the movie.

“Playing for Keeps”

It’s movies like “Playing for Keeps” that give romantic comedies a bad name. After being bounced from one release date to the next throughout the course of 2012, the film would have been better off left collecting dust in the studio’s vault. There isn’t a single redeemable thing about the movie, from its paper-thin plot to the one-dimensional characters, but most upsetting is the giant waste of talent on display. Catherine Zeta-Jones. Uma Thurman. Judy Greer. These are quality actresses being forced to slum it for a paycheck by throwing themselves at Gerard Butler’s former soccer player like prostitutes on a street corner. It’s embarrassing for everyone involved, but perhaps no one more so than Dennis Quaid, whose sleazeball businessman represents a new low for the veteran actor, and for anyone that’s seen his recent work, that’s saying a lot. Lonely soccer moms who have nothing better to do than daydream about Butler may enjoy the film, but for as many terrible rom-coms as the actor has starred in, “Playing for Keeps” is quite possibly the worst.

Blu-ray Highlight: The disc includes the usual behind-the-scenes featurettes – one on making the movie and another on assembling the A-list cast – but neither one is really worth your time, except to hear Gerard Butler hilariously compare the film to “Tootsie.”

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