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OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

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OSS 117 finds a new angle on the spy-spoof genre, steering well clear of the gross-out humor of the Austin Powers series. Most of the film’s jokes center around agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath’s sexism and colonialist disdain for foreign cultures, both of which backfire when he gets sent on a mission to Egypt. Alternately aiding and hindering de La Bath (Jean Dujardin) in his mission are femmes fatales Princess Al Tarouk (Aure Atika) and Larmina (Bérénice Bejo). The world these characters inhabit has been painstakingly crafted to look as much like a late ’50s/early ’60s Technicolor thriller as possible, right down to the obvious process shots anytime someone is driving a car. That’s fun for a film geek, but too bad more effort wasn’t put into the screenplay. **1/2

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