Sunday, September 12, 2010

Movie with Abe: Heartbreaker

Directed by Pascal Chaumeil
Released September 10, 2010

Every once in a while, there comes a film so marvelously entertaining that its appeal is irresistible. The trailer’s sales pitch goes as such: “if your daughter can’t admit she’s with the wrong guy, it’s time to hire the heartbreaker.” That tagline sums up the film perfectly, in terms of both tone and plot. This French film, dubbed “L’Arnacoeur” in its native country, is a highly amusing and entirely accessible comedy that easily ranks as one of the year’s best and most enjoyable films thus far.

There’s a sense of freedom and adventure in “Heartbreaker” that makes it seem like professional seducer Alex Lippi and his partners-in-crime Mélanie and Marc possess infinite and unlimited resources to accomplish their various missions. That’s not the case, of course, since the extensiveness of the operations are running them dry, but that doesn’t mean Alex is willing to cut back on his means, and he’ll make up for anything he doesn’t physically have with magnetic energy and personality. A hilarious montage towards the start of the film demonstrates Alex’s prowess and the ease with which women fall head over heels for his charm.

Lead actor Romain Duris has incredible charisma, but his excellent performance shouldn’t be misread as the film’s sole virtue. Instead, Duris simply sets a glowing example for the rest of the cast. Vanessa Paradis (famous as Johnny Depp’s girlfriend) is a perfect match for Alex as Juliette, his toughest challenge: a strong-willed woman who seems impervious to any of his cheap (or expensive) tricks. Her prickly attitude ensures that Alex’s attempted seduction will not be a simple task. The most lovely aspect of “L’Arnacoeur” is Julie Ferrier as assistant Mélanie, who blends into the background as often as possible in whatever guise – maid, clerk, etc. – is most appropriate. After her similarly chameleonic turn earlier this year in “Micmacs,” Ferrier is definitely in the running for the hardest working supporting player of the year.

As a backdrop to the superb cast, not limited to the above players thanks to handy turns by François Damiens as Marc, Andrew Lincoln as Juliette’s beau-to-be, and Héléna Noguerra as Juliette’s promiscuous former best friend Sophie, there lies a great film with a spot-on wit. There’s a terrific sense of what’s enough and what’s too much, and the film is therefore at times a genuinely good movie and at others a gloriously over-the-top guilty pleasure. The balance between the two is exceptional, and it’s hard not to be swayed and wowed by the extent of Alex’s efforts and the magnificent result that is this wonderful comedy.


No comments: