The Girl From Monaco

The Girl From Monaco


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Ah, weathergirls. A perennial favourite of directors everywhere, they seem destined to be forever presenting their warm fronts to anyone who'll have them (The Girl Cut In Two) or ensuring those who get in their way reap a whirlwind (To Die For). The Girl From Monaco - Audrey (Louise Bourgoin) - falls firmly in the former category, being plucked from the box marked "farce".

But though she gives the film its title, this story isn't really about the girl - and since she is presented as a one-note money-grabbing bedroom toy, it is probably just as well. That honour falls to Betrand (Fabrice Luchini), a middle-aged saggy, baggy and a bit loose at the seams defence lawyer who has come to Monaco from Paris to defend a woman (Stéphane Audran) in a murder trial. On arrival, however, he finds that the defendant's son has hired bodyguard Christophe (Roschdy Zem) to protect him.

Copy picture

Christophe is the strong, mostly silent, type which initially makes for some decent odd-couple comedy, particularly when, in order to get rid of a formidable past squeeze of Betrand's he sleeps with her "a little". But this early light farce switches into an altogether higher gear when Audrey arrives on the scene - in one of a succession of outfits that fits where it touches - to prove the age-old cliche that there is no fool like an old fool. Revelations from Christophe that Audrey is something of a well-worn tyre in terms of romance mileage do little to cool Betrand's heatwave for her and it isn't long before brains take a back seat to bonking.

There are some laughs to be had here thanks, chiefly, to Luchini, who has comic timing in spades and knows how to convey shifting emotion without saying a word, while Zem proves well-cast as his dead-pan foil. And, in fairness to Bourgoin, she makes what she can of her singular note - although with her sucession of bra-less outfits and barely there skirts she is little more than sexy set dressing.

But while there is nothing inherently wrong with odd-couple humour or broad sex comedy - providing you make sure all the characters are over-the-top - writer/director Anne Fontaine and co-scribe Benoît Graffin simply cannot make up their minds. When, far too late in the day for us to care, they enter Hitchcock territory, the plot shift gives you the cinematic equivalent of whiplash - leaving you holding your head, wondering how on earth it happened and really rather wishing it hadn't.

Reviewed on: 13 Nov 2009
Share this with others on...
The Girl From Monaco packshot
A lawyer in a high-profile trial falls for a local weathergirl... much to the concern of the bodyguard who has been hired to protect him.
Amazon link

Director: Anne Fontaine

Writer: Anne Fontaine, Benoît Graffin

Starring: Fabrice Luchini, Roschdy Zem, Louise Bourgoin, Stéphane Audran

Year: 2008

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: France


French 2009

Search database:

Related Articles:

Vive le France