COMEDY DU JOUR: Pierre Richard and Gerard Depardieu return in "La Chevre," the zany encore to last year's successful slapstick import "Les Comperes."

The roles are the same in spirit, if not in name, with Richard as a bumbling sidekick to a deadpan detective played by Depardieu. Richard, the baggy-faced clown of "Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe," and Depardieu, the hulking hero of "The Return of Martin Guerre," make an unlikely but superb comic duo. And that's surely thanks in part to their writer/director Francis Veber, who capitalizes on portraying odd couples masterfully, having also created "Les Comperes" and "La Cage Aux Folles."

The film costars Corynne Charbit, charming as an accident-prone heiress who falls out the window of her hotel, is mugged by motorcycle hoodlums and then kidnapped to a Mexico where everyone speaks French and gorillas are apt to pop out of the jungle at any time. Her monstrously bad luck first confounds her captors and, later, Depardieu, as he searches for her in vain.

Eventually, a psychologist suggests that someone equally luckless join the case, and her father (Michel Robin) insists that his klutzy accountant take the job. He's the kind of hero who lights his cigarette and sets his tie on fire, who toasts a pretty woman with his fruit drink and gets the straw caught in his nose.

Eventually, the smooth sleuth sees the good side of his new partner and male bonding is achieved in this happy, summertime adventure.

LA CHEVRE (Unrated) -- In French with English subtitles at the KB Fine Arts and Paris.