MPI // 2010 // 105 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // February 23rd, 2011
He's broken every heart except his own...Until now.
Even France has its share of ordinary romantic comedies, and Patrick Chaumeil's Heartbreaker is no exception. Despite the lack of a refreshing storyline, the film successfully utilizes the talents of its popular cast to trigger just the right amount of energy and entertainment audiences are looking for in a commercial romcom about two clashing characters who simply cannot help but eventually fall in love. Looks like there's still some charm left in the old formula after all.
In Heartbreaker, Roman Duris (Paris) plays Alex Lippi, a pretty arrogant young man who's an expert at breaking up bad relationships. Believe it or not, it's his gift, and it helps him pay the bills. His techniques to convince women to get out of their dysfunctional relationships are of course quite unconventional to say the least, but Alex is a professional and he vows to always stick to his own rules: only take on cases if the women are unhappy, and never ever fall in love.
Everything Alex has been working for though is threatened to fall apart when he meets Juliette (Vanessa Paradis, Girl on the Bridge), a charming heiress who's happily engaged and is just a mere ten days away from her wedding. Juliette's disgruntled father doesn't like her fiancè at all, which is why he wants to hire Alex to break off the engagement before it's too late. Alex doesn't like to idea of bending his own rules, but with massive financial troubles threatening to destroy his peace, he has no choice but to accept the mission.
The quest for the heart of the happily engaged woman begins shortly after, and it doesn't take long for us to figure out where exactly the story of Heartbreaker is heading. In Juliette, Alex has found his biggest challenge yet, and as he's trying everything in his power to convince her to dump her fiancè, he cannot help but fall in love with her himself. Alex should in fact know the consequences of his actions, but with a bunch of money on the table and his inability to resist his heart, he's bound for trouble.
Heartbreaker is undoubtedly a charming comedy, but it really doesn't add anything new to the genre. Still, as a very standard French romance with a simple story and predictable plot, it also boasts a large dose of silly humor you'll enjoy even if you don't take anyone in the movie very seriously. Either way, the film is loaded with light, harmless jokes that provide a nice break from all those awful Hollywood slapstick gags, and that alone deserves positive feedback.
Another thing that makes it very easy for viewers to see past the ridiculous plot of Heartbreaker is the film's setting and all the production values that come with it. The story takes place in Monaco, and the nice weather, beautiful, clean city, upscale locations, inviting luxury, and spicy soundtrack all have a crucial hand in creating an overall feel-good atmosphere you won't be able to resist.
A film like this obviously also requires the right cast to lure audiences, and Duris is by all means an excellent pick for the role of Alex. Duris has already proven he's great at comedy, and Alex enables him to really show he's also got a classy side. Both he and Vanessa Paradis have lots of charm, but their chemistry in this film is not as strong as you might expect. They do share a few cute moments together, but all in all, Duris steals the show. I couldn't help but wonder if Paradis was miscast here.
The title and tagline say it all: this is a story about a guy who breaks hearts for a living until he breaks his own. His adventure with Juliette obviously also teaches him the regular valuable lesson, but luckily for us spectators, the way to that revelations comes with a few amusing if predictable hurdles. Wrapping up, I can only say that Heartbreaker is simple, entertaining French cinema you'll find very easy to enjoy.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* TV Spot