Heartbreaker

‘I break up couples for a living’ –

So says Alex, the master heartbreaker. He also says, To achieve our goal, anything goes! Alex, played by Romain Duris is delightful in the 2010 French rom-com called Heartbreaker.

Directed by Pascal Chaumeil, the film opens in Marrakesh, Morocco. Before long we are back in Paris for a short stay, and then it is on to the south of France – to the Principality of Monaco. This is where most of the film takes place.

Alex is hired to break up a couple that will be married in just 10 days. The time is short so the task will be difficult. And the couple are seriously in love. However Alex is in serious debt. The money lenders have already called in a hulking Serbian knee-capper (he’s the goon waiting for Alex to fail to pay up).

Certainly it takes a lot of money to pull off some of the scams and schemes necessary ro make Alex’s business a success. Wearing expensive suits and accessories from Paul Smith, doesn’t come cheaply. Nor does the state-of-the-art high-tech resources like computers, spy-cams, and sophisticated software that Alex and his associates use to accomplish their missions. So if Alex wants to get out from under the debt, he’s going to have to succeed this time.

Romain Duris as ‘Alex’ and Julie Ferrier as ‘Melanie’

Alex works with his sister Melanie (played by Julie Ferrier who sparkles in the role) and her husband Marc , played by Francoise Damiens who is on hand for a few semi-slapstick scenes, so each of their operations, or missions, are a three-person-operation. The sister is the eyes and ears on the ground. You know, she gets the necessary jobs in the hotels  like waitressing, reservations, phone operator and so forth) to keep Alex abreast of the comings and goings of the involved parties. The sister’s husband handles the technical duties like phone intercepts, video and auditory surveillance. They work as a well oiled machine.

However all of this isn’t like a team from Mission Impossible. Instead Alex has to do all of the hardest work which includes him being the object of desire, who must convince the women that they can do better than the loser guys they’re already involved with, and yet stay clear of any sexual entanglement with the targeted woman.

But while Alex can be called a quick-witted con artist ( as he said – anything goes) , he is not totally without principles. He won’t get involved if religion is involved, nor will he hire himself out if the couple are truly happy, nor will he have sex with the woman even if she’s very unhappy about the old boyfriend.

Alex works out and under the bright lights of the city, or under the sun. He doesn’t do under the covers work. For emphasis, the film’s tagline reads: He’s broken every heart except his own …until now.

Yes, that means, Alex is going to have to break a few of his own rules. And that’s your set up.

The lead female character in the film is the heiress Juliette Van Der Beck. Alex has been hired by her father to throw a wrench into her marriage plans. Actress Vanessa Paradis has the role. Actually this puts me into an awkward positions as I loved him (Duris as Alex) but hated her (Paradis as Juliette). She didn’t seems to have more than a fraction of the interest in Alex that the other women did. I didn’t get a sense, nor was I convinced, about her feelings for Alex.

However, that doesn’t mean that Alex can’t carry the film on his own. This may be a subtitled French film, but it plays like a wanna-be American rom-com, but with a few differences. Some of what should or might be called the comedic parts aren’t particularly laugh-out-loud funny. Instead they are merely humorous. The film also lacks passion in the main characters. There is a gal who plays Vanessa’s best friend Sophie, and she’s played by Helena Noguerra.

This character gets all of the funniest lines, and she’s the one character in the film with a hot-to-trot vibe.

In fact, the whole film, is less funny than what I expected. And that seems to be the main negative, assuming you are okay with reading subtitles. But the locations in Monaco are splendid, in fact – One thing is for certain – you will love the location shooting throughout the film, as nothing appeared to be a studio setting. Also worthy of mention are the clothing and the cars. The weather is gorgeous too.

I think you will enjoy the film, for the performance by Duris, and the look and feel of the film. Plus adding to the fun is the music by WHAM – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, and a scene (I Had the Time of My Life) lifted right of out Dirty Dancing must be mentioned as highlights to watch and listen for. I’ll rate it at three-point five, mainly because I thought Paradis as Vanessa was lacking something. On the other hand she’s had two children with Johnny Depp. So it does come down to a matter of taste. Going back to what I said before – loved him, hated her. You can watch this film via Netflix streaming service.

Check out the trailer below:

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