Heartbreaker [L'Arnacoeur] Movie Review

This delightful romantic comedy refuses to play by Hollywood rules. So even though it's as predictable as you'd expect, it keeps the characters grounded in reality. And their dialog is peppered with truly terrific lines.

Alex (Duris) is a charming rogue makes a living breaking up undesirable relationships. Working with his sister (Ferrier) and her husband (Damiens), he woos women away from unsuitable suitors. His next assignment is in Monaco, where he must pry the wealthy Juliette (Paradis) from her lovely, wealthy British fiance (Lincoln). Posing as her bodyguard, Alex succeeds in catching her eye, but will she fall for him in time to stop the wedding? And what if Alex falls for her?

The first thing you notice about this film is its sharp writing; it feels like it's been decades since we've seen a rom-com this sparkling. Snappy dialog and strong characters like this went missing in American cinema back in the 1960s, so leave it to France to show how it should be done. Sure, there's an unnecessary subplot involving a loan shark and his meathead goon (Paris), but the script cleverly refuses to let it take over the movie.

Like Alex himself, this film charms the socks off us. His choice in music (Wake Me Up Before You Go-go) and movies (Dirty Dancing) is irresistible, and the only question is why Juliette holds out as long as she does. Meanwhile, it's refreshing that Lincoln's character isn't turned into a villain (or even a nice guy with a dark secret). Instead the film lets the romance have its own weight, which is something Hollywood is always afraid to do.

Duris is simply fantastic in the role, which is unlike almost anything he's done before. Gone is his usual brooding, introspective moodiness; Alex is a sexy, funny optimist, and his joie de vivre is infectious. So is his chemistry with Paradis as a strong woman who refuses to fit into any movie stereotype.

And fine comic relief is on hand from Ferrier and Damiens as well as Noguerra as Juliette's nymphomaniac pal. This is a lively, funny, sharply well-made rom-com that actually gets better as it goes along.

Cast & Crew

Director : Pascal Chaumeil

Producer : Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky, Laurent Zeitoun, Yann Zenou

Starring : , , , Francois Damiens, , , , Amandine Dewasmes

Comments

Heartbreaker [L'Arnacoeur] Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: 15, 2010

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