Is French Actor Omar Sy (The Intouchables) the Next Big Thing?

The Intouchables has smashed French box-office records—it's the highest-grossing non-English-language film in history—and now it's targeting the heartstrings of American audiences.

Photo: Thierry Valletoux / The Weinstein Comapany (Copyright © 2011 Gaumont - Quad)

In the great tradition of odd-couple buddy movies (see: Trading Places, Lethal Weapon, Sideways) comes The Intouchables, a French import about a street-smart thug (charismatic breakout Omar Sy) who lands a job as the caretaker of a stuffy, rich quadriplegic (François Cluzet) and gives the art-collecting curmudgeon his groove back.

The film has smashed French box-office records (it's now the highest-grossing non-English-language film in history) and is targeting the heartstrings of American audiences—who can also be stuffy curmudgeons when it comes to feel-good cinema. But this modern socio-fairy tale is more than worth a Sunday afternoon. And Sy (pictured above, right), who's the first black actor to win the César award (the French equivalent of an Oscar), has the subversive charm of an old-time matinee idol, looks amazing in a suit (especially when gettin' down to Earth, Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland"), and has the master Oscar campaigner Harvey Weinstein in his corner. So expect his perfect teeth and broken English to make the red-carpet rounds come awards season.

The Intouchables is in select theaters now and is slated for a wider U.S. release in July.

—Rachel Rosenblit, entertainment editor at Details

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