First Look Pictures // 2007 // 102 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // November 18th, 2008
She only dated men with money...
...until she met a man with heart.
French superstar Audrey Tautou stars as Irene, a beautiful but quite deceiving gold digger who enjoys the high life on the French Riviera by using her charm and body to trick wealthy men into booking her the most prestigious suites in luxury hotels and buying her the most expensive clothes she can find.
Everything works quite well for Irene these days, at least until she encounters Jean (Gad Elmaleh, The Valet), an ordinary hotel employee she ends up mistaking for a rich bachelor. Getting rid of men without enough money to please her needs is usually no problem for Irene, but in the case of Jean, the task is not as easy as it seems. You see, Jean has quite the crush on Irene, and although he perfectly knows he's incapable of offering her a fortune, he's certainly convinced that the only way to win her heart is to beat her at her own game...
If you enjoy sophisticated but highly entertaining French comedies with a solid dose of delightful humor and captivating romance, you should have no troubles adoring Pierre Salvadori's Priceless. A big box-office hit in France, this delicious little film benefits from a solid story line with excellent comedic timing and flawless performances, offering viewers 106 minutes of light but charming entertainment that should easily appeal to both male and female audiences.
The script by Salvadori and Benoit Graffin is one of the movie's most important strengths. Although main character Jean quickly realizes what Irene is really after, he still allows himself to be blinded by his instant love and literally refuses to let go of her so easy. As clever as he is, he finally decides that the best way to stay close to her is to adopt her extravagant lifestyle by offering himself as a companion for rich women. As fate would have it, Jean soon runs into Madeleine (Marie-Christine Adam), a wealthy single who falls victim to his charm, offering him shelter in her suite and buying him everything he fancies...
This is exactly where Priceless really takes off and the whole fun reaches its highest level, with both Irene and Jean constantly deceiving their respective "sponsors" while slowly falling for each other. It takes a few sacrifices from both to get what they want, but their efforts in pursuing their desires prove to be quite beneficial. It's beneficial also for us spectators, who are pulled straight into the middle of a romantic story with an interesting theme and sparkling characters.
The most intriguing thing about the flick is observing how Irene teaches Jean how to use his charm to get what he wants and how Jean teaches Irene that true love can indeed be priceless. Priceless is filled with charming conversations, hilarious gags, and even a few emotional segments, giving viewers the opportunity to examine two irresistible characters who share an exquisite and wildly entertaining adventure.
What Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh also share is flawless onscreen chemistry. Salvadori's film is driven by its fabulous cast, and both Tautou and Elmaleh turn in first-class performances. A popular French comedian who has proved his skills in films such as The Valet and Chouchou, Elmaleh is so much fun to observe doing his thing on the big screen. With a look and gestures that remind me of Mr. Bean, he's a real expert at delivering his gags right on time and coming across as totally authentic and credible. Tautou is the ideal lead actress for such a film. Blessed with stunning beauty and a smile that will melt every man's heart, she always manages to steal every single scene, no matter what character she plays or what movie she stars in.
The technical aspects of this DVD are just as delicious as the film itself, with the 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer boasting a sharp and clean picture quality. The audio transfer works just as well, giving Camille BazBaz's fantastic score the sound quality it deserves.
Sadly, the disc comes without any special features. Considering how much I loved the film, I would have really enjoyed watching some interviews or listening to a commentary by Salvadori about the making of the project.
A great story and great actors make Priceless a romantic comedy you shouldn't miss at any cost.
Priceless and not guilty!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: First Look Pictures
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R