Tuesday, June 12, 2012

L'ARNACOEUR
(THE HEARTBREAKER)

Citi-Rustan's French Film Festival
Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex




*** I'm reposting my review of this rom-com. It is included in the line-up of the ongoing French Film Festival at the Shangri-la mall cineplex ***


This French romantic comedy set in exotic locales (Morocco, Monte Carlo) started off on a good note then slowly self destructs. An unusual plot with eccentric characters, it thrives on false pretenses and cheesy romantic moments.

Alex Lippi is a professional 'heartbreaker'. He is in the business of breaking up relationships. He has only 2 main rules: he doesn't bed the women and he only breaks up unhappy relationships. This whole enterprise triumphs with the joint efforts of his sister Melanie and her husband Marc who take care of all the logistics involved in making sure Alex is successful. He achieves this by using his irresistible charms to make the female half of a couple realize that her beloved is not the one for her.

In his next job, he is given only 10 days to prevent the imminent wedding of a wealthy wine connoisseur Juliette to an English philanthropist. Although they are head over heels in love with each other, her father a tycoon thinks otherwise and therefore hires Alex to intervene.

The plot then weaves into a complex and profoundly silly slapstick subplots with a slew of British and American pop culture adding to the rigmarole. Its repeated allusions to the British group Wham! and the Patrick Swayze movie "Dirty Dancing" were so corny. A banal romantic farce set to an awfully saccharine soundtrack, it's quite predictable despite the numerous twists they interjected to muddle the plot.

Amazingly, Romain Duris is quite a big star in France even though his looks are quite average. But it seems he relies heavily on his charming way of delivering dialogue. Vanessa Paradis is more popularly known as a singer/model and the life partner of Johnny Depp. It is a pity that his versatility as an actor doesn't rub off on her.

The saving grace would be the alluring locales and the fashionable wardrobe of the characters. I think only the French can come up with such an absurd story and disguise it as a romantic comedy. Yet I read that Hollywood is interested and a remake is in the works. Let's just hope the American version will be an improvement.

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