Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur)

Hitch Meets Priceless


19 August 2010| No Comments on Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur)     by Sean Chavel


The French romantic comedy with Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur) should be a guilt-free joy if you are already predisposed for love conquers all stuff. It borrows “Ocean’s 11” jazzy rhythms but instead of a heist film it is a love hijack. Romain Duris (“The Beat That My Heart Skipped”) is Alex, a professional couple-wrecker who drops in to seduce and save women before they take the plunge with the wrong guy. Overprotective fathers are often the clients that pay Alex and his team to intercept. On his latest assignment, Alex does a no-no by falling in love with the bitchy heiress Juliette (Vanessa Paradis).

Like other popular imports “Priceless” and “The Girl from Monaco,” this is another high-gloss French comedy set at a five-star French Riviera hotel. Luxurious setting, perky performers and more garter belts than in an American film. For a touch of vulnerability, Juliette has a soft spot for “Dirty Dancing” which means that Alex must brush up on Patrick Swayze moves, imitate the swagger and slide of a legend. Also means he must sing like George Michael.

Alex has a week to break up Juliette’s wedding before she ties the knot to a supposed boring guy. Alex will pose as her bodyguard so he can follow her every shopping and spa salon move. On his side are two surveillance experts, his brother Marc (Francois Damiens) and his wife Julie Ferrier (Melanie). Damiens is a goofball – not a ladykiller like Alex, and his key role is to play the A/C repairman who deliberately puts the cooling system in her hotel room on the fritz. As for Ferrier, she has a fetching cougar quality. Her character slips into the role of hotel receptionist, cleaner, waitress, etc.

Juliette has one of the biggest suites in the hotel, and Alex the would-be bodyguard is right next door. Just when Juliette dismisses Alex from duty, she gets attacked by a (would-be) thief, and Alex saves the day. Things start to look rosy, but then Juliette’s fiancé shows up. It becomes harder to predict in how Alex is going to be able to pull this off but if he can steal Juliette away for a few minutes in a cool yellow sports car and make the bachelorette party about him…

As the love interest, Paradis has a stiff face that somehow can look pretty once she gives Alex the time of day, which she is not too willing to do so. If you have ever found beauty under a hard shell of woman then Paradis might make your day. As for Duris, he is like a cheeseball Colin Farrell trying to be John Travolta or Patrick Swayze. The movie itself is suave, snobby around the edges, and perhaps more than a smidgen delightful.

In French with English subtitles.

105 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “Dirty Dancing” (1987); “Hitch” (2005); “Russian Dolls” (2005, France); “Priceless” (2006, France).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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