While Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie
) tones down his usual noisy and handmade whimsy, he reaches for the pacifist, populist radicalism of such Chaplin masterpieces as Modern Times
and Monsieur Verdoux
. Bazil (Dany Boon), a 40ish orphan, has suffered grievously at the hands of a pair of friendly neighborhood arms dealers. The film's most inspired moments come as Boon mimics Chaplin's Tramp, as when the homeless Bazil bathes by racing alongside a street-cleaning truck. Bazil meets a group of likeminded misfits who operate a fanciful salvage shop below a refuse dump. Bazil, who really doesn't show much inclination for vengeance or group leadership, somehow organizes this motley crew into an Ocean's Eleven
-type gang in which everyone's special power comes in handy. But as worthy as the film's targets are, it runs out of steam midway through, relying on ever-escalating set pieces with ever-diminishing returns.