Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

When the French pass through the magic window, marked Rom-Com, you expect European sophistication and good old-fashioned Gallic wit. Sadly that's what's missing from Heartbreaker. There is oodles of charm, stunning frocks, perfectly cut summer suits and a plot that pushes the same old buttons. Don’t expect originality. Don’t expect jokes that make your chest ache. The lead actors have sex appeal in spades, but the comic support crew fall flat. As for the plot: been there, done that!

Alex (Romain Duris) is a professional gigolo with a difference. He is not trying to get the ladies into bed. He just wants them to stop doing what they are doing, like running off with Mr Wrong. And other people are paying him. His team consists of his sister Melanie (Julie Ferrier) and her goofy husband Marc (Francois Damiens), an ace with gizmos. Hollywood movies of this ilk indulge in fabulous loft conversions and houses to die for. This crew are in Monte Carlo, with a shed load of expensive gadgets.

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Alex’s golden rule is to stay away from happy. Don’t break up a marriage if it is going well and don’t stop a wedding if the future bride and groom are besotted with each other. In the case of Juliette (Vanessa Paradis) he makes an exception because he owes 30,000 euros to a gangster who has sent a Serbian giant to warn, “If you don’t pay up, your own mother won’t recognise your face.” Juliette’s millionaire father hires him for 50,000 euros to stop Juliette’s wedding to oh-so-rich, terribly nice Jonathan (Andrew Lincoln). Alex needs the money and so takes the job. But Juliette loves Jonathan. And the wedding’s in a week. It’s going to be a toughie!

In a girlie kind of way, the film satisfies. The comedy is soft, the story’s predictable and the clichés line up like pretty little dolls. Disengage the brain and let a rush of feelgood slide down your front. Duris and Paradis are easy on the eye and if charm is a sweetener, it keeps the bitter taste of yuk from affecting the critical faculties.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2010
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A professional gigolo has one week to stop a loving couple tie the knot in Monte Carlo.
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Director: Pascal Chaumeil

Writer: Laurent Zeitoun, Jeremy Doner, Yoann Gromb

Starring: Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier, François Damiens, Héléna Noguerra, Andrew Lincoln, Jacques Frantz

Year: 2010

Runtime: 105 minutes

Country: France, Monaco


EIFF 2010

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