Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thums Up for L'arnacoeur

You know, some lame, tired, familiar meals just taste better when served in French.

Take, for instance, L'arnacoeur [“Hearbreaker”], an import romantic comedy/hidden identity flick. A trifle.

Our protagonist Alex, along with his team, break up relationships. But the team only does it when the woman is unhappy, and Alex never bangs them – he chastely resists [I’ve moved beyond that; my heart is with you, but I am elsewhere (he lost someone in love, his girly died unexpectedly, she was eaten by a shark)].

He’s asked by a French florist-mobster to break up the relationship (and halt the impending marriage) of the florist-mobster’s daughter. She’s about to marry a wealthy Englishman.

The hitch? She’s incredibly happy. And the guy is wonderful.

And Alex falls in love with her.

Setting aside that I couldn’t fall in love with her, the movie works. He’s charming, in a gross, unshaven Gallic way, and she’s charming and beautiful, in a gap-toothed, cold Gallic way. But it’s frothy fun, and a little more serious – or at least more realistic and less broad -- than recent French comedies like La Doublure or Hors de Prix. The situations are fun, the settings are beautiful. And Romain Duris, as Alex, is not wholly unlikable – a ringing endorsement of a French romantic lead!
Romain Duris
And Vanessa Paradis, as Juliette (the betrothed) is okie-dokie too.
Vanessa Paradis
(I learn now that she is Johnny Depp's mate. To each incredibly handsome, successful movie star his own. . . .)

But it’s Alex’s sister and brother-in-law – the rest of the heartbreaking team – that bring the hilarity. And the charm. The team works in a low-tech “Mission: Impossible” way, and the actors bring broad – but believable – comedy to the flick. Francois Damiens is just great – a Belgian Rhys Ifans, but actually funny.
Francois Damiens

I always shy away from real reviews; they're a lotta work for an underpaid librarian and bureaucrat, and besides -- who gives a shit what I think?

But I do indulge in “see it” or “avoid it” recommendations. And I say “see it.”

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