(Hors de Prix)

audrey tautou

Priceless (Hors de Prix)
Made in: France
Language: French
Director: Pierre Salvadori
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Gad Elmaleh, Marie-Christine Adam, Jacques Spiesser, Vernon Dobtcheff
Year: 2006

Synopsis: Iréne (Audrey Tautou) is a young gold digger with absolutely no financial resources of her own. So she resorts to courting older, lonely men (with ridiculous wealth) who are all too willing to finance her extravagant lifestyle.

While staying with her latest sap (Vernon Dobtcheff) at a luxury hotel, Iréne spots a shy barman named Jean (Gad Elmaneh) who often works the late shift.

Things get interesting when she mistakes the poor but classy Jean for a wealthy playboy and tries to pick him up. Smitten with Iréne, Jean tries to keep up the charade. Although the ruse doesn't last long, their adventures are only beginning.

Iréne moves on to another rich sucker (Jacques Spiesser) while Jean unwittingly takes company with a wealthy widow (Marie-Christine Adam). Drawn into the gold-digger lifestyle, Jean and Iréne form a quirky bond as she educates him in the fine art of deceit and manipulation.

The Good: Priceless is reminiscent of a classic screwball comedy. It's light, entertaining, and never pretentious. Audrey Tautou turns out a natural, nuanced performance, and especially impressive is when she is teaching Gad Elmaleh's Jean how to be emotionally manipulative. In that short scene, Tautou does a remarkable job maintaining her own character, who, in turn, is pretending to be something else.

Also very entertaining is the subtle Gad Elmaleh, who has a very quiet likeability. The locales along the Riviera are beautiful, and the movie contains plenty of "comical suspense."

The Bad: At times, the story seems a bit bland. Although much of it is romantic, fairy-tale stuff, the idea of the selfish and materialistic Iréne coming around in the end will likely stretch the suspension of disbelief in even the most naïve viewers.

Who would like this movie: Priceless is for you if you enjoy harmless, light, romantic comedies. If foreign films aren't normally your thing, this one will convince you that not all french films are "artsy" and incomprehensible.

The story accomplishes all that it needs to, and never drags on. If you love Paris, this movie will likely drum up fond memories of the last time you were there. It's not Audrey Tautou's best work, but she's as fun and charismatic as ever.

(3 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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