Thursday 25 November 2010


Out now on DVD is the French romantic comedy, Heartbreaker.
Check out the trailer and read my review, after the jump...

Ladies man Alex Lippi (Romain Duris) frees women from bad relationships. For a reasonable price him and his team can be hired to plant that seed of romantic doubt in women's minds that will make them see that they can perhaps do better than the man they're with. In urgent need to pay off some debts, Alex takes on an assignment he never normally would; breaking up what appears to be a perfectly happy couple. Posing as her new bodyguard, Alex must make sure Juliette (Vanessa Paradis) cancels her wedding to an apparent Prince Charming, Jonathan (Andrew Lincoln), but as you'd expect, things get more complicated when Alex and Juliette start to have feelings for one another.

Romain Duris has fast become one of France's best leading men, but so far he has steered clear of romantic comedies. He's mainly known for his work in The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Moliere and Dans Paris, although he has played comedic roles before in Pot Luck and its sequel Russian Dolls. For such a normally straight faced actor, He's clearly relishing the opportunity to let loose a bit here, throwing himself into the goofy, roguish charm of this character. As Alex he learns all the Swayze moves to Dirty Dancing, he sings along to Wham, all to further his chances with the 80's nostalgic Juliette.

I'm not too familiar with Vanessa Paradis' work in film. She's more recognisable to me as Johnny Depp's other half, but she's a very likable leading lady. The romance between Juliette and Alex is a familiar one (early destain leads to finding common ground which leads to confusing thoughts), but it brings with it a few different elements. Firstly, that there's nothing really wrong with Juliette's English fiance Jonathan (Andrew Lincoln).

In the time honoured tradition of romantic comedies, you'd expect her absent fiance to be a real bastard, leaving the door open for Alex to swoop in and whisk her off her feet. But although Jonathan may be a genuinely nice guy, he is also a dull Englishman, offering her nowhere near the same drama or excitement as the rugged Frenchman. It's this injection of Gallic charm that makes this film so entertaining. Alex is a dirty dancing rotten scoundrel, and can offer Juliette the romance that she has always dreamed of, just as long as she can accept his failings. It could be seen as having a touch of the French taking back what is rightfully theirs, but it all adds to the gags.

Okay, I'll admit it. I think this film is great. I'm clearly not the target audience in any way, but there's such a sweet charm and good humour running through it that I was entertained throughout. It is an undoubted guilty pleasure, and one that shows some fantastic scenery from its Monaco setting. It has the lush beaches and hillside roads that convey a sense of glamour, like a secret romance mecca the French are letting us in on. This location was also used to great effect by Priceless, another impressive French romantic comedy from a couple of years ago that completely charmed me.

Although I'd definitely recommend this to people, I would say that this was aimed at a demographic slightly older than me. Chock full of references to Dirty Dancing, George Michael and Wham, this is ideal for those who grew up in the 80's. It is largely a chick flick, but guys will find enough laughs in it to remain interested. This is steeped in Gallic charm that rises it above its somewhat formulaic story. It's a funny, sexy, thoroughly charming comedy.


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