Sunday, September 26, 2010


Today I saw Heartbreaker, starring Vanessa Paradis and Romain Duris.

We all have loved ones with partners we'd like to trade. Whether they be adulterous or simply annoying, at some point we all fantasize about breaking said couples up, but seldom follow through.

However, if there were a breakup-for-hire third party who we could solicit to do our dirty work, would we take the risk?

Many would, according to the premise of this film.

Alex (Duris) makes a living seducing women out of their current relationships with the help of his sister and her dim-witted husband. He makes it a rule not to break up what he perceives to be "happy" couples and ends his pairings immediately after accomplishing his task.

The father of Juliette (Paradis) has commissioned him for a rush-project of sorts—her wedding to a Brit they're not fond of is due to take place in a matter of days, so Alex will have to work fast to win her over.

During his "research" of the client, he learns she loves George Michael music and quickly rigs the car with vintage Wham! hits (though the way he achieves it seems needlessly elaborate). He also begins memorizing her favorite movie, Dirty Dancing, to learn the dance moves of Patrick Swayze's character.

Alex poses as Juliette's bodyguard to gain 24/7 access to her, and like many formulaic romantic comedies, he doesn't like her at first. She is the pampered princess; he the working-class simpleton.

Of course that changes, and he begins to make progress on his mission, but this is where the movie lost me. Vanessa is model-beautiful and her husband-to-be is Prince Charming handsome. Alex is skinny, somewhat unclean and sloppy. His actions are so exaggerated he comes off as a buffoon and the way he conveys his "love" for the things she adores isn't terribly convincing.

Throw in the slapstick nature of the supporting characters (his sister and brother-in-law, and her sex-crazed best friend) and all of the sweetness of the idea here is gone.

I enjoyed the leading lady's performance, but without a believable match for her to have to decide between, this film just couldn't work as it was intended.

I may have to cleanse my palette and throw good-old Dirty Dancing into the DVD player.


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