' ' Cinema Romantico: Priceless

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I think you should....

I would encourage you to....

I hold the opinion it would be in your best interests if you....

went and saw this movie.

Now, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about here, and that's okay. In fact, it's the point. To get the joke I just made you're going to have to go and watch the new French comedy "Priceless".

Yes, this delightful little film, helmed by Pierre Salvadori, goes down as smoothly as the champagne every character onscreen seems to be sipping damn near constantly. If the French Riviera is really like this I must say I'm not sure I'm eager to visit. It appears to be nothing beyond water, balmy skies, rich, old fogeys and lots of lots of intimidatingly attractive female gold-diggers. I ain't got no gold to dig and even if I did, well, if a woman who looked like Audrey Tatou does in "Priceless" started va-vamooing her way in my general direction I'd probably spit up said champagne and flee.

But despite this appearance of the French Riviera the movie still got me hooked and caring an awful lot about it. Gad Elmaleh (the same gentleman who starred as the title character in the recently reviewed "The Valet") turns up this time as Jean, a poor bartender on the aforementioned Riviera who through a little misunderstanding gets Ms. Tatou's Irene to think he is some sort of rich playboy and so despite the fact she is currently digging gold from an older fellow the two of them hook up for a night of passion.

One year passes, Jean is still stuck at the same job and who should walk into his hotel but - yes! - Irene and that same rich beau of hers. The rich beau proposes but, of course, Irene re-finds Jean in the bar and Jean, of course, makes himself out to be the same rich playboy and they fall into bed together only, of course, this time Jean's true identity is revealed and Irene's beau having, of course, found about her fling kicks her to the side of curb.

But Irene's good at what she does and gets herself another - let's say - sugar daddy before long who carts her off to a different resort, though Jean pursues her out of unrequited love and, lo and behold, when his finances go belly-up through a series of hi-jinks winds up with with his own - let's say - sugar mama. Therefore Irene becomes the money-grubbing mentor to Jean's money-grubbing protege, though we all know Jean's too nice to keep grubbing.

Tatou goes an exceedingly long way in making this whole enterprise work. She's so damned effervescent (yes, I said it) that despite the fact she's manipulative and cruel and after nothing but money, money, and more money you still find yourself not disliking her too much. And the way Elmaleh portrays Jean's pursuit of Irene does not lead you to think of him as a schmuk but more of a nice guy who is the only one able to see there is another layer beneath Irene screaming to get out and against all odds he is determined to make sure it, in fact, does get out.

I suppose there's a message in here about vanity and about how money doesn't solve your problems and these are things I agree with but I happen to think the movie's true intent is something else entirely. It wants to charm you. That's it, nothing more. And you know what? It does.


chewie said...

Dear Reviewer,

I'm sorry my comment actually has nothing to do with the movie of which you speak so eloquently, but I am looking for an old friend and I think you may be able to help. In fact, I think it's you. So, if you are not an alumnus of Waukee High School class of 1996, please disregard this. If you are, email your friend Jeremy Richards at geistdesigns@gmail.com. Word to your mother, Cynthia.

Anonymous said...

Cynthia? Cynthia Jackson-Steffenberg from Bridgewater, Utah? It's me! Bird-Dog!

Please email me at Nigeriascam@moneygo.com. I have the damnedest story to tell you about this guy who died with all this money....

Anonymous said...

Scammy? It's me!

Can I have some money to make a movie?