Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Cast & Crew: Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier, Francois Damiens, Helena Noguerra, Andrew Lincoln, Jacques Frantz, Natasha Cashman, Elodie Frenck, Victoria Silvstedt
Synopsis: Charming, funny and irresistibly cool, Alex (Duris) is a self-proclaimed expert in seduction who for a fee can make any woman fall under his spell and turn any husband, fiance or boyfriend into an ex. His objective? To make women in unfulfilling relationships release their true potential. But Alex has one ironclad rule which his latest job will put to the test. The target is Juliette (Paradis), a beautiful heiress who is set to marry the man of her dreams. Her father, however, thinks otherwise and retains Alex`s services. The professional heartbreaker soon discovers that when it comes to love, there is no such thing as a perfect plan.
Review: If you thought pick up lines to woo women demanded stuff institutional degrees are made of, “Heartbreaker” will thrill you. It will make mince meat out of your notions and reaffirm the fact that one silly formula, namely sweet talking, is all that is really required to con a woman (despite the fact that she may be involved with another man). So much for longstanding commitment, really!
Here you will meet love that is frivolous, a tad adventurous, paced well but sadly succumbing to predictability. It’s amazing how glamorous and quick fix a job it is to get couples to break up with just a little suave seduction with two family bred assistants to rescue you on your mission in case of circumstantial mishaps. This job comes in with a lot of cushioning and like it does in the movie, can get complacent. Monotony is a riot that attacks magnificent plots. Guess adult amusement deserves a lot more than just a series of occasional situational humor.
What is commendable though is that the movie, originally in French, was a massive box office hit in France and takes a certain risk in casting two stars known for their dramatic intensity rather than comic timing. The enthusiasm of the intense actors at a role demanding little seriousness is worth a mention. Wish the script could be more slickly entertaining to justify the efforts put forward by two noted performers of French cinema.
So we meet the charming dream boat of a man called Alex (Romain Duris) who is a break-up expert creating rifts between couples with just a few well rehearsed lines and an intense kiss, photographed all along by his partners in sweet crime, Versatile sister (Julie Ferrier) and haplessly entertaining brother-in-law (Francois Damiens) and lands them in serious relationship crisis. For each of his victims, Alex poses as a divorcee still recovering from a bout of breakdown convincing them that he is not fit for love and they perhaps deserve a lot better in life. Too formulaic but it is charming the way Romain Duris chooses to enact his conning. But do women really need that kind of a rescue from their flawed romantic lives? May be some therapy could get them to rethink their decisions and directions both. Alex out of the blue gets his toughest assignment so far and that too by a suspicious father of a lady called Juliette (Vanessa Paradis), a strong-willed businesswoman on the verge of marrying a charming English philanthropist (Andrew Lincoln). Vanessa Paradis does a great job at being tough to please, keeping Alex on his toes when it comes to impressing her. Women with urban sensibilities will celebrate her resistance to his moves. (I secretly did.) Instead we see her sex addict of a best friend trying her best to assault him. While she seems unmoved unless she spots him enjoying an operatic performance like he was in sync with every bit of it elementally. Yes men do push parameters when it comes to reserving a seat in a woman’s heart.
The film opens on a promising note. The beginning is impressive as we see Alex in an intriguing avatar of a humanitarian doctor cheering and curing children around North African villages when he targets his very first victim. A darkly comic sequence that evokes the ruthless frivolity of his tribe. But that’s where the mystery ends and predictability takes over. What rescues the film though is the fact that it is smartly executed, well performed and slickly paced, – three ingredients that keep it brewing for us onscreen.
The film, however, recalls a time in cinematic history where rom-coms were highly amusing and stunningly made. The silently spiky chemistry between the two protagonists is lovely. The breathtaking locales of sun-drenched Monte Carlo are a beautiful reminder of mid-twentieth century films that told us extraordinary stories of courtship. Wish the film lived up to that era and that barometer as well.
Verdict: A misleading guide in case you aspire to master the fine art of break-up induction.