Tuesday, 6 July 2010

REVIEW: Heartbreaker

What Do You Call 100,000 Frenchmen With Their Arms Up? The Army. (Count it.)

There's always the worry when watching foreign cinema, that things are getting Lost In Translation. Tone can't be affected in subtitles, and when something reads slightly wooden its more then likely the problem of the translator then the film-maker. Having said that, I can only criticize the film that I see and frankly, the because you don't get it argument is feeble at the best of times.

So Heartbreaker. Its a French high-concept romantic comedy (of sorts) that's kind of stupid, kind of charming and thoroughly French. If that last description is a blessing or a curse then that kind of answers whether or not you'll like this film, because without that preference or deference it doesn't really stand on its own. Its premise is kind of ridiculous, and if you give it more then a nanosecond's thought, what seemed like a fairly neat little concept devolves into incredulity. It sees Superdouche Romain Duris and crack team free girls from unhappy or unsatisfactory relationships. How. By Romain Duris' awesomeness and attractiveness. With that a viable plan is an afterthought dude. Because no girl could possibly resist the sheer attractive force of Duris. Come on. I'll buy this I guess, in part because I'd watch Duris in anything after The Beat That My Heart Skipped, and he was slightly funnier then I was expecting him to be. But the film leans on his charm way too much, and at times feels horribly reminiscent like a generic Hollywood romantic comedy for its own good. It doesn't help much that Vanessa Paradis, perhaps most famous for beating out 3 billion women to Johnny Depp, is kind of awkward, dull and unknowable. Its not a bad performance per say its just its tonally wrong and she's a hard character to fall in love with, or more importantly understand why Duris does either.

What the film does do however is allow smart women the chance to enjoy a dumb romantic comedy, its dull brain carefully concealed beneath its French accent, but make no mistake many genre cliches from the worst Katherine Heigl movies are here. You just don't notice them so easily. Having said that its a romantic comedy that does these familiar things with large amounts of charm and panache, mostly down to Duris, and for that I'm willing to cut it some slack, because Romantic comedy is a genre with cancer right now and any entry that doesn't entirely suck is a welcome refresher.

See it if you're favorite movie of the last decade was Amelie, if you've ever written a Facebook status in French or if you've long-awaited that slightly more hip and credible version of Hitch that you can watch without cultural embarrassment.

Rating: 6/10

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