Thursday, 19 August 2010



Romantic comedy hardly wants for tales of men and boys wooing a lady for money or a dare or similar, only to find that they like the lady in question, only for her to find that he’s a lying cheat and be upset and or/angry, only for them to find that their love is true .
The main quirk about Heartbreaker is that this type of tale is usually found in US teen films rather than French cinema, though this is a lot closer in tone to those films than the standard French tales of mature, bourgeois longing. A knockabout comedy, the story is just as lame as any of those found in the likes of She’s All That, but as with Ten Things I Hate About You some winning performances can really beef up the movie into something worth watching. In this case Romain Duris plays Alex Lippi who, along with his sister and her husband, breaks up unhappy couples, specialising in women “unknowingly unhappy” and through elaborate set-ups becoming their dream man before dashing off into the sunset before anything more than a kiss is exchanged, leaving the women to re-evaluate their lives which usually involves ditching their man.
This time around he is asked to split up Vanessa Paradis (Juliette) and Andrew Lincoln (Jonathan) before they wed, although after a bit of research it seems that they are the perfect couple. Usually the team would walk at this point, but after menaces from a debt collector to whom Alex owes rather too many Euros he has to accept the job.
From there on it’s predictable business as usual with only the quirks in the journey to the inevitable happy ending acting as points of difference. The comedy is pretty broad, with Alex’s sister taken on a number roles in the hotel where Juliette is staying, Alex singing along to Wham and learning Dirty Dancing moves in an effort to conicidentally have things in common with his mark, Juliette’s druggy nympho ex-best friend arriving on the scene and any number of skewed pratfalls, but importantly it’s mostly funny.

Tellingly, director Pascal Chaumeil worked as second unit director on Leon, Fifth Element and Joan of Arc, and there is a shared sensibility with Besson here of convincingly taking on the Americans at their own game.
Heartbreaker has nothing more to offer than the better of the American teen rom-coms and arguably the world is hardly crying out for another entry in the genre, but thankfully it’s fun.


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