Hollywood should sit up and take notice of how to revitalize the romantic comedy with the fresh and original spin from director Pascal Chaumeil in his feature film debut.
This funny, romantic and entertaining crowd-pleaser has a brilliantly conceived premise and two very attractive leads in Romain Duris (“Moliere” and “L’Auberge Espagnole”) and Vanessa Paradis (long-term girlfriend of Johnny Depp and mother of his two children).
Alex Lippi (Duris), his sister Melanie (Julie Ferrier) and her husband Marc (Francois Damiens) operate a business that specializes in breaking up couples. They help all kinds of women who are unhappy with their husbands or boyfriends but don’t want to admit it. Their goal is to open the eyes of their “victims.”
Alex is the front man doing the heavy lifting while Melanie and Marc operate in the shadows. They do extensive research on their feminine subjects’ background, coming up with things they like. Alex plays the role of Don Juan, where his expertise in the art of seduction comes in handy. Anything goes outside of sleeping together to get the woman to realize she needs a new companion.
Alex feeds them the same lines and even cries to gain their sympathy. He seals the deal with a passionate kiss at the end of each elaborate charade.
Their latest assignment breaks all the rules. A wealthy father hires the team to stop the impending marriage of his independent–minded daughter Juliette (Paradis). They have only five days before the nuptials to work their magic. On the surface, it appears that Juliette is extremely happy and very much in love with her investment banker fiancé Jonathan (Andrew Lincoln). They have been dating for three years and moved in together one year ago.
Jonathan is an Oxford graduate from a rich London family. He has his own jet, founded a food bank that feeds over 10 million children and did humanitarian work in Asia. He seems to have come straight out of a fairy tale – a handsome Prince Charming, who is filthy rich to boot.
Alex is convinced to take the job because the company is broke and he owes a large debt to a ruthless loan shark. Alex poses as Juliette’s bodyguard and chauffeur in Monaco. The whole operation has a “Mission: Impossible” espionage flavor.
Duris will have American women swooning in this breakout role. He does all sorts of crazy shenanigans that involve physical slapstick comedy and daring stuntwork.
Paradis is a classy gal who looks gorgeous in every outfit. Her alluring looks would melt any man’s heart. Duris and Paradis have a winning chemistry.
A terrific soundtrack with recognizable pop songs sets the mood. The signature moment occurs on the dance floor with the re-creation of a scene right out of “Dirty Dancing” to the tune “Time of My Life.”
An English language version of the film is in the works spearheaded by Jeremy Doner (FX television series “Damages”), one of the original three script writers.
This delightful cinematic gem is the perfect choice for date night out. You can’t beat the cute premise and the unexpected payoff. The dialogue is primarily in French with easy-to-read English subtitles. Now playing exclusively at the Rio.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"