out of Five
Running time: 100
Enjoyable French romcom (or Fromcom) with likeable characters, a sharply written script, snappy direction, several hilarious gags and a terrific central performance from Romain Duris.
What's it all about?
Directed by Pascal Chaumeil, Heartbreaker stars Romain Duris (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) as Alex, a professional heartbreaker who's employed to break up undesirable couples, usually by making the woman fall in love with him. Working with his sister Melanie (Julie Ferrier) and her husband Marc (Francois Damiens), Alex travels to Monaco to take on his toughest challenge to date, wooing wealthy heiress Juliette (Vanessa Paradis) away from her seemingly perfect British fiance Jonathan (Andrew Lincoln), just ten days before their wedding.
Romain Duris is effortlessly sexy as the charming, ever-optimistic Alex, to the point where you half wonder why Jonathan doesn't fall for him as well. He also has strong chemistry with Paradis and an infectiously funny comic rapport with Ferrier and Damiens, while there's a hilarious supporting turn from Helena Noguerra as Juliette's nymphomaniac best friend Sophie, who almost throws a spanner in the works.
The script is excellent, combining well written, likeable characters with witty dialogue and several brilliantly funny moments. In addition, Chaumeil orchestrates several wonderfully romantic scenes (the Dirty Dancing sequence is worth the price of admission alone) and includes a couple of neat running gags, such as Alex having to turn his head every time he has to try and make himself cry.
Chaumeil keeps things moving at a decent pace, with snappy editing (the montage of different jobs at the beginning is an early treat) and a superb score - the soundtrack is used cleverly throughout too, such as when Alex sings along to 'Wake me up before you go-go' in the car, knowing it's one of Juliette's favourite songs. The film also deserves points for letting the relationship play out without feeling the need to demonise Andrew Lincoln's character in some way – in American romcoms he'd turn out to be a bastard the moment Juliette's back was turned.
As Fromcoms go, Heartbreaker isn't quite in the same league as last year's wonderful Priceless, but it's well acted, effortlessly charming and delivers handsomely in terms of both romance and comedy. Highly recommended.