OSS 117- Lost in Rio (2009)

Finding a new movie on Netflix Streaming with the Roku box can be a strange process. First, I hunt through my 300-plus list in my queue. I’m almost never in the mood to see any of the movies I’ve put there and that’s why there’s 300 movies there. Also, much of it is for the rest of the family. Then, I go through what’s recently released. Netflix has a strange idea of what constitutes ‘recently’ as some of that stuff’s been in there for months. (Fortunately, the website and iPhone app Instant Watcher is a Godsend for seeing what is absolutely brand new at Netflix streaming). After that, Netflix has a bunch of lists like ‘gritty crime dramas’ and ‘comedies with a strong female lead’ to suggest movies to watch. Honestly, this is where I usually settle on to find something to watch. Also, if I’m feeling antsy, I’ll start two or three movies, watch the first ten minutes and stop before I settle on something I’ll watch all the way through. Most nights, finding a movie takes about 15-30 minutes if there’s nothing new I’m excited about. Sometimes after all that searching, I’ll decide I’m not even in the mood to watch a movie or will only watch the first half.

Yea, it’s a real first world problem. To me, it highlights the new entertainment problem for this generation. It isn’t that we can’t afford new entertainment—the poorest of the poor still seem to have broadband—but that it’s all about maximizing our time with entertainment. Even with the trend toward narrowcasting, the narrow niches are still overcrowded with content. I mean, I just saw someone tweet how excited they were that all of the He-Man cartoons were now on Hulu. Even little kids don’t have the time or patience for ALL the He-Man cartoons. So, now we just know that they are there and that’s like a form of media consumption. Netflix should have a good idea of what I like, I’ve been using the service for over ten (?) years and rating stuff, but still it’s filled with recommendations I’ve seen or have zero interest in.

So, for these reviews, I’ve been trying to go off the mainstream grid more, watching strange old horror movies or foreign films. Just picking shit at random until I stumble upon something good.

I picked OSS117-Lost in Rio after turning down a Bolivian miner documentary (still feeling good about the Chilean miners) and yet another 10 people trapped in a sadistic house torture porn flick.
OSS117-Rio is a French comedy and sequel (hadn’t seen, didn’t know) to another OSS117 movie. It parodies the low hanging fruit of ’60’s spy films like Matt Helm and James Bond. Yea, it’s been done before with the insufferable Austin Powers and half a lifetime of MST3k and Beastie Boys videos.
That said, OSS-117-Rio is pretty agreeable because it’s so aggressively French. They have the clean, campy, split-screen style of the 60’s spy flick down cold. The look is fantastic–plenty of hot bikini-clad girls, bright colors and great locations. The fight scene on top of the giant Jesus that overlooks Rio is genius.
As in parodies of it’s ilk, OSS117’s leading spy is an idiot. On top of that, he’s a misogynist, racist, self-absorbed, vain and over-confident. So, in short, pretty funny. The actor plays it with such wide smile glee that the horrible things he says works in the long stretches of awkward silence. My only complaint besides a few obvious jokes, almost a guarantee in a movie this broad, is that the movie overplays the awkward silence angle too much.
OSS117’s (I spaced learning names) partner is a more stoic female Israeli spy, mirroring Beyonce in those Austin Power movies. The plot concerns OSS117 paying off a Nazi to get a microfiche list of French sympathizers in WW2, so pretty French approach to plot. There’s an American spy whose only English is swearing, a buxom Nazi and an ongoing plot as Chinese assassins try unsuccessfully to kill OSS117 (like the old Pink Panther movies).
There’s not much in the movie that’s ground breaking comedy-wise, but the film is put together in such an agreeable way and played out with such energy, it doesn’t matter much. For example, I’m a sucker for a film that has ten guys shooting at our hero (killing off all the innocent bystanders around him) from five feet away and completely missing him as he picks them off one by one. What’s Up Tiger Lilly did that joke 40 years ago, but it’s still funny.

I’ll probably watch the first OSS117 movie some Saturday afternoon, but I do recommend OSS117-Lost in Rio as a nice diversion for the blues.

Oh, if you’re looking for a great parody, check out Black Dynamite on Netflix Streaming. It’s easily the best 70’s Blacksploitation parody since I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. I laughed my ass off at that one.

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