LIGHT, CHARMING FRENCH FARCE, ANYONE?
by Kevin Bowen
published May 9, 2008
now playing in select
Priceless is a champagne-fizz farce about a woman with champagne tastes and a
French bartender suffering a romantic hangover.
Riviera gold digger of some magnetic capacity, mistakes Jean, her hotel bartender, for a rich man. The mistake will test Jean’s love, sanity, and
credit card. Eventually to win her heart, he will stumble into being a gigolo, too. Stuck in the same luxury hotel, they live off the kindness of
elders, exchange trade secrets, and fall slowly in love.
Now, you might not drop everything, collapse
your bank account, and consign yourself to being a kept man in a hotel, all for the girl of your dreams. But the object of your affection
likely isn’t the lovely Audrey Tautou. She leaves behind the lovable gamine routine for one film, and plays seductive and wily. Meanwhile, Gad
Emaleh, quickly becoming the new trademark French everyman sex symbol, shows a dry-martini touch for this sort of thing. Given this film and
The Valet, will a sexy siren ever fall instantly for him, for his own self?
Directed by Pierre Salvadori (Apres Vous), Priceless (aka: Hors de Prix) floats along on bubbly atmosphere. There are leaps in logic, motivations driven by plot rather
than brain, and sometimes dodgy pacing. And it doesn’t really matter in the end, because the sexy humor and charm makes up for it. So does the
soundtrack, a brassy sixties sort of thing that recalls a time when a romp like this was common.
Tautou often draws comparisons to that other
iconic Audrey. In fact, doesn’t the whole “stunner in fabulous dresses living on the kindness of older men” give this a bit of a Breakfast at Tiffany’s feel? Not being an Amelie fan, this might
well be the best I’ve seen of her. For the camera and the atmosphere, she truly is a fizzy delight.
Priceless won’t change your life. But I can’t
say it won’t entertain.