Sunday, October 03, 2010


2010, France, directed by Pascal Chaumeil (Heartbreaker)

If L'Arnacoeur were an American film, I suspect it would be dismissed as another formulaic genre entry, but with a French manufacturer's tag instead it's deliciously 'frothy', a word which seems to crop up constantly in the English-language reviews of more or less any French romantic comedy.

In truth it's probably both those things: the dogs in the street could guess how things are going to turn out, but the story is played with sufficient verve, by generally charming performers, that for 90 minutes or so it (mostly) hangs together. Central to that is Romain Duris, one of the most engaging of current French actors, who invests himself fully in a surprisingly physical performance where he's called on to don a bizarre array of disguises and to master the most unlikely of skills at short notice (the photo above shows him honing his Dirty Dancing skills - one of the film's most amusing sequences, if also one which reinforces the American influence). The early sequence which outlines Duris's profession is also very strong, cleverly edited, with a punchy rhythm that the film can't quite sustain over the remainder of the running time.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States