Heartbreaker – Movie Review

Pascal Chaumeil’s debut rom-com gets by with a little help from Romain Duris and the enduring beauty of Vanessa Paradis. He may not be so lucky next time.

Although breakthrough director Pascal Chaumeil has a bunch of TV credits to his name, this is his first feature film as a director. The writing team of Laurent Zeitoun, Jeremy Doner & Yohan Gromb also has little or no previous experience in feature films. Nonetheless, all of these key players come through with a funny and heartwarming rom-com.

This success is attributable to the stars of the movie. Romain Duris plays Alex Lippi, the center of a trio with a most remarkable business; they break up couples about the tie the knot. They are professional engagement wreckers.

Vanessa Paradis plays Juliette Van Der Becq who is engaged to be married to a man who looks too good to be true. He is honest, successful in his field, rich and handsome. Regardless of the fact that the groom-to-be is perfect, Juliette’s father (played by Jacques Frantz) wants the marriage broken up. You will have to watch the film all the way to the end to see why.

Three-time Cesar nominee Romain Duris does a great job in this film. If you saw him as the troubled piano genius in “The Beat That My Heart Skipped” you will appreciate his ability to move on to a comedic role in this film.

He is a funny guy, although it is his native charm and good looks that carry the day, not his native comedic ability. As for the men in the audience, they are most likely distracted by the very sexy Paradis.

A successful model, pop music star and winner of the Cesar for her debut movie “Noce blanche” (1989), Paradis also is living with Johnny Depp and raising their two children. She was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 2007. Talk about a couple of over-achievers! One wonders what their children will do…

Julie Ferrier (La Môme Caoutchouc in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Micmacs”) and François Damiens (“OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies”) play Melanie and Marc, the other two persons in the three person heartbreaker ring. The group has its ethics. They do not break up married couples and they do not break up couples who are happy.

Above all, they do not ever, ever, no way, no day, get involved with the persons they are breaking up. As Melanie puts it, “We open their eyes, not their legs.” Thank you, screenwriters Zeitoun, Doner and Gromb. Let us see if we can build on that level of humor for your next screenplay….

OK, so is that an invitation to get involved, or not? Obviously, bad boy Alex gets involved. And boy are we glad he did. It will take all of his wits to stay one step ahead of the rich fiancé’ who is his target, while at the same time staying one step ahead of the Mafioso.

The veiled class conflict makes it all the more fun. Not only does the penniless, marginalized near-victim of the streets win the girl, he wins a sizable fortune at the same time. After all, her daddy is as rich as she is smart. Life is good.

In short, this film throws everything but the kitchen sink at the hero. It takes the luck of a Maxwell Smart, the charm of the Pink Panther and the sex appeal of James Bond to carry the day but in the end the hero triumphs. Hardly a spoiler there. After all, this is a romantic comedy.

Visit the movie database for more information.

Directed by: Pascal Chaumeil
Written by: Laurent Zeitoun, Jeremy Doner & Yohan Gromb
Starring: Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis
Release: September 10, 2010
MPAA: Not Rated
Runtime: 105 minutes
Country: France / Monaco
Language: French / English / Spanish
Color: Color