Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 39
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

(Photo by Magali Bragard)

I JUST CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU: Alex (Romain Duris, left) has been hired by Juliette Van Der Becq’s (Vanessa Paradis) father to break up the impending marriage between Juliette and her fiancé ten days before the wedding, because he doesn’t think her fiancé is worthy of her. To his surprise and dismay, Alex finds that he is falling in love with Juliette, which is against his rules of business. To see how it all turns out, see the movie.

Heartbreaker: Relationship-Ruining-Romeo for Hire in Hilarious French Farce

Kam Williams

In ten days French heiress Juliette Van Der Becq (Vanessa Paradis) is scheduled to be married to Jonathan Alcott (Andrew Lincoln), a wealthy and proper British gentleman. The two are madly in love with each other, and the only thing wrong with this picture is that the bride-to-be’s meddling father (Jacques Frantz) isn’t happy with his daughter’s choice of a spouse.

Therefore, he has decided to retain the services of Alex (Romain Duris), a dashing Romeo who specializes in breaking up couples’ relationships. This service is usually required because someone, who thinks the woman is involved with the wrong man, is willing to pay Alex to do it, which he usually does by turning on his irresistible powers of seduction. Assisted strategically by a “mission impossible” team comprised of Alex’s sister Melanie (Julie Ferrier) and his brother-in-law Marc (Francois Damiens), Alex has yet to leave a customer unsatisfied since he started his business a decade ago.

Interestingly enough, despite his morally questionable line of work, Alex abides by a code of honor that includes not sleeping with, or falling for, any of his clients. He also won’t take a job unless the woman is already having second thoughts. However, he lets Juliette’s case be an exception to the latter because he is low on funds and heavily indebted to a mobster who is demanding the money owed by Alex.

So, Alex accepts the lucrative assignment and travels to a luxurious seaside resort in Monaco where Juliette is busy putting the last minute touches to her wedding. In order to meet Juliette without arousing her suspicions, Alex poses as a bodyguard who has been hired by her father .

Heartbreaker, which is the directing debut for Pascal Chaumeil, is a screwball comedy. This delightful film holds up well in comparison to the best of the “romantic romp” genre for which the French are famous.

It’s not long before Alex discovers that he’s met his match in more ways than one, as Juliette figures out that he’s been put up to the job by her father. Worse, Alex finds himself developing feelings for her which is against his rules of business.

Will the relationship between an engaged couple who are apparently perfect for each other be broken up? How will overprotective Mr. Van Der Becq take the news that his employee wants to date Juliette. Then there’s the question of how the jilted fiancé will react to being left at the altar? And what about Alex’s support team who might not take kindly to losing their charming co-conspirator.

A lighthearted sitcom with enough slapstick and sheer silliness to generate laughs galore for the duration of the film.

Excellent (4 stars) Unrated. In French, English, Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin with subtitles. Running time: 104 Minutes. Studio: IFC Films.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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