Friday 15 December 2017

Movies: Heartbreakers ***

(15A, Limited release)

Paul Whitington

We might have had our fill of comic heist capers in this part of the world, but the French seem inordinately keen on them, and after the likes of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Micmacs and the Audrey Tautou vehicle Priceless last year, we now have Pascal Chaumeil's Heartbreaker.

Although it sets out with the thoroughly preposterous premise of a crack team of con artists who are hired by concerned parents to save young women from unsuitable relationships, Heartbreaker at least has sufficient conviction to stick by its daft storyline, and as a consequence is pretty entertaining in the main.

And it's greatly helped by its leading actors' easy charm.

Romain Duris, star of Paris and The Beat That My Heart Skipped, is Alex, a dashing young rake who's a kind of heartbreaker for hire.

For a fee, and assisted by his sister and her husband, Alex woos women away from feckless partners with a slick 'perfect man' routine that persuades the ladies that they can do better.

He never sleeps with them, and won't take on a case if he thinks the couple are actually in love, but his principles are sorely tested when he's asked to break up the engagement of a wealthy heiress.

The daughter of a rich industrialist, Juliette Van Der Becq (Vanessa Paradis) is about to be married to a handsome English businessman, but her father is not convinced she's marrying for love.

When Alex is called in, he spoofs his way into Juliette's company by posing as a bodyguard hired by her father and follows her around the Monte Carlo hot spots. And while she seems highly resistant to his charms, he finds himself falling for her.

Heartbreaker is perhaps a little too enamoured of the hi-tech surveillance scenes that are now compulsory in these films, but it breezes through its story with cheerful efficiency and Duris and Paradis (Mrs Johnny Depp) have good chemistry on screen.

Ms Paradis is extremely charismatic and makes a virtue of her small imperfections, and that magnificent whistling gap in her front teeth remains a defiant two fingers to the orthodontic tyranny of Hollywood.

Irish Independent

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