The Dinner Game

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Le Dîner de Cons
Le diner de cons (Poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Veber
Written byFrancis Veber
Produced byAlain Poiré
Starring Jacques Villeret
Thierry Lhermitte
Francis Huster
Daniel Prévost
Alexandra Vandernoot
Catherine Frot
CinematographyLuciano Tovoli
Edited byGeorges Klotz
Music by Vladimir Cosma
Distributed byGaumont Buena Vista International
Release date
  • 15 April 1998 (1998-04-15)
Running time
80 minutes [1]
Budget$12.5 million
Box office$65.4 million [2]

The Dinner Game (French : Le Dîner de Cons; literally Dinner of Fools) [3] is a 1998 French comedy film written and directed by Francis Veber, adapted from his play Le Dîner de Cons . It became that year's top-grossing French film at the French box office (second overall behind Titanic ). [4]



Pierre Brochant, a Parisian publisher, attends a weekly "idiots' dinner", where guests, who are modish, prominent Parisian businessmen, must bring along an "idiot", whom the other guests can ridicule. At the end of the dinner, the evening's "champion idiot" is selected.

With the help of an "idiot scout", Brochant manages to find a "gem", François Pignon, a sprightly employee of the Finance Ministry (which Brochant, a tax cheat, loathes). Pignon has a passion for building matchstick replicas of famous landmarks. Shortly after inviting Pignon to his home, Brochant is suddenly stricken with back pain while playing golf at his exclusive country club. His wife, Christine, leaves him shortly before Pignon arrives at his apartment, as she realizes that he still wants to go to the "idiots' dinner". Brochant initially wants Pignon to leave, but instead becomes reliant on him, because of his back problem and his need to resolve his relationship problems.

He solicits Pignon's assistance in making a series of telephone calls to locate his wife, but Pignon blunders each time, including revealing the existence of Brochant's mistress, Marlene Sasseur (thinking that she is Brochant's sister, since her name sounds like "sa sœur"), to his wife Christine and inviting tax inspector Lucien Cheval to Brochant's house, where Brochant is forced quickly to hide most of his valuables in an attempt to disguise his tax evasion.

In the meantime, Brochant is able to make amends with an old friend, Juste Leblanc, from whom he stole Christine, and through the evening's events is forced to reassess his mistakes.


Critical response

The film was positively received by critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 74% based on 46 reviews, with an average score of 6.8/10. [5] On Metacritic, the film received a score of 73 based on 19 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [6]


At the 1999 César Awards, the film was honored with six nominations of which it won three. The categories it won were Best Actor for Jacques Villeret, [7] Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Prévost and Best Screenplay for Francis Veber. It was nominated but did not win for Best Film, Veber as Best Director and Catherine Frot as Best Supporting Actress.

Award / Film FestivalCategoryRecipients and nomineesResult
César Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Francis Veber Nominated
Best Actor Jacques Villeret Won
Best Supporting Actor Daniel Prévost Won
Best Supporting Actress Catherine Frot Nominated
Best Writing Francis VeberWon
Goya Awards Best European Film Nominated
Lumières Awards Best Actor Jacques VilleretWon
Best Screenplay Francis VeberWon


Le Dîner de cons
Soundtrack album by
Released17 January 2000 (2000-01-17)
Label Larghetto
1."Dîner de cons" (orchestral version) Philip Catherine, Romane, Vladimir Cosma & LAM Philharmonic Orchestra2:45
2."Le temps ne fait rien à l'affaire" Georges Brassens 2:08
3."Dîner de cons" (Phillip Catherine version)Vladimir Cosma & Philip Catherine3:32
4."Christine et Brochant"Vladamir Cosma & String Orchestra0:59
5."Manciniade"Vladimir Cosma3:20
6."Cheval, contrôleur fiscal"Vladimir Cosma & LAM Philharmonic Orchestra2:14
7."Con à grande vitesse"Vladimir Cosma & Philip Catherine2:16
8."Nincompoop"Vladimir Cosma & ICE Group1:57
9."Pignon décomposé"Vladimir Cosma & String Orchestra & Guitar1:21
10."Marlène Sasseur, nymphomane"Vladimir Cosma1:27
11."Départ de Christine"Vladimir Cosma & String Orchestra1:06
12."Dîner de cons" (Romane version)Philip Catherine, Romane & Vladimir Cosma3:31
13."Louche connexion"Vladimir Cosma2:42
14."Allo, Henry!"Vladimir Cosma3:15
15."Juste Leblanc"Vladimir Cosma & String Orchestra & Guitar1:29
16."Dîner de cons"Philip Catherine, Romane & Vladimir Cosma6:03
Total length:40:05


1998Le Dîner de Cons French Jacques Villeret, Thierry Lhermitte, Daniel Prévost, Alexandra Vandernoot, Catherine Frot Francis Veber
2007 Bheja Fry Hindi Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Sarika Sagar Ballary
2008 Mr. Garagasa Kannada Komal Kumar, Anant Nag, Aishwarya Dinesh Baboo
2010 April Fool Malayalam Siddique, Jagadish, Navya Natarajan, Biju Menon, Jagathy Sreekumar Viji Thampi
2010 Dinner for Schmucks English Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Stéphanie Szostak, Jemaine Clement, Lucy Punch, Zach Galifianakis, Bruce Greenwood Jay Roach

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  1. "LE DINER DE CONS (THE DINNER GAME) (15)". British Board of Film Classification . 16 November 1998. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  2. "Le Dîner de cons (The Dinner Game) (1998)". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  3. The last word is difficult to translate directly into English, as the equivalent English word, "cunt", is considered unacceptably vulgar, and typically has a somewhat more aggressive tone than con (see Bradshaw, Peter (2 July 1999). "Con trick". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2011.) A Dublin and London version of the stage play used a slightly different strategy, shifting the day of the dîner to Tuesdays so the euphemistic title See You Next Tuesday could be used (see: "see you next Tuesday". London Theatre Guide. 3 July 2003. Retrieved 9 May 2013.)
  4. "French Box Office Top 25 for 1998". Variety . 11 January 1999. p. 96.
  5. "The Dinner Game (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  6. "The Dinner Game (1998)". Metacritic . Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  7. Tomasovitch, Geoffroy (16 February 2007). "Mystères autour de l'héritage de Jacques Villeret". Le Parisien. Retrieved 23 January 2011.