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Film Title

Priceless

Director

Pierre Salvadori

Starring

  • Audrey Tautou as Irène
  • Gad Elmaleh as Jean
  • Marie-Christine Adam as Madeleine

A very satisfying romantic comedy about wealth and gold digging, Priceless is an amusing confection of sprightly energy and winning charm. Just like the main character, Priceless is deliciously naughty and amoral, but always immensely enjoyable.

The captivating Irène enjoys the high life, especially when a man of wealth is paying for it. With her abundance of charms and feminine wiles, she’s armed for digging for gold wherever she can find it. Frequenting the French Riviera with her latest conquest who is boring her, she encounters put upon bartender Jean one evening. The amusing thing is Irène assumes he is a rich man of the world by his appearance. Not telling her the truth, Jean and her share drinks and laughs. Later, things are taken to the bedroom. In the morning, Irène has left and Jean is left thinking of her. A year later, Irène returns to the hotel with her sugar daddy in tow, where she promptly seduces Jean once more. Only this time, Jean gets busted and the truth of his status is revealed. This coincides with Irène’s latest squeeze leaving her with nothing money wise and jilting her quickly. A shocked Irène high tails it to Nice, not realising how smitten Jean is with her. Instead of just forgetting her, Jean finds her and attempts to woo her. takes full advantage of this as her expensive tastes nearly bankrupt the far from affluent Jean. Panicking when his finances are tight, Jean is saved by wealthy widow Madeleine. She has been looking for a new toy boy and Jean fits that bill. Surprisingly, Jean finds he has a knack for gold digging too, with the main objective being to romance Irène in the end . Irène is quite impressed by this show of initiative and offers help in the business she is well acquainted with. Transformed from hapless bar tender to jet set smooth talker, he even begins rivaling her at the game of money. Seeing how successful he has got , Irène comes to see Jean in a new light, which puts her plans for finding another rich man in jeopardy as her personal feelings enter the picture.

Pierre Salvadori is in the director’s seat for this frothy and charming comedy. He knows the way to keep events bright and breezy, before colouring them with a bit more depth than most romantic comedies strive to reach for. His eye for humour and timing, most notably in Jean’s attempts to be seen as a prospect to the girl he loves is what really gets the most laughs. The scenario of the film is hardly what one would call groundbreaking, but enjoyment is the name of the game and Priceless rises to the occasion admirably. Depending on your tolerance level, you’ll find Priceless irresistible or too arch. For me, I fell into the former camp by miles. It’s the old-fashioned vibe and nods to romantic comedies of yesteryear that Priceless excels at emulating, and giving it a bit more than the average modern Hollywood rom coms that we are witness too. What you get here is riotous fun that also stops to consider why Irène would go on the path of a gold digger in the first place. A nice depth arises from that strand of story that definitely caught my attention.  As a movie that deals with the rich and well-heeled, Priceless looks gorgeous, supplying us with picturesque and chic views of the French Riviera. Trust me, you may be considering holiday plans after watching Priceless. The extravagance on show and just the overall seductive view of the rich life is swoon worthy. A sparkling and amusingly jaunty score accompanies the film with effusive energy and playful rhythm.

The talented Audrey Tautou supplies slyness, allure and even a bit of desperation as the material girl everything revolves around. Irène is someone who clearly has a plan to snare someone rich and enjoy the high life at the same time. Tautou makes Irène a minx but not one that is completely unlikable. Sure she goes after men’s wallets more than their hearts and practically obliterates most of Jean’s income in the beginning, but with Audrey Tautou the beguiling persona and glimpses of someone not wanting to fall by the wayside are felt by the audience. Gad Elmaleh is blessed with a sad-eyed expression and certain lugubrious charm to make the part of Jean work. Jean is something of an unlikely gigolo, which is a strength Gad Elmaleh and his lanky appear de play to masterfully. Elmaleh like he’s having fun as the love struck man pursuing the woman who captured his heart and trying to play her at her own game. The enjoyment factor from both him and Tautou transfers to the audience, paying great dividends. Marie-Christine Adam appears as the glamorous widow attracted to Jean, and though the role is more than a tad underwritten, she possesses the elegance and worldly appeal of a successful older woman.

It’s not the most sparkling brand new formula for a romantic comedy, yet the very nature of romantic comedy is to recycle, preferably with style. Which is what Priceless does, with witty aplomb and hilarious high jinks between two potential lovers on the make. With Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh making a fun couple, you can’t really ask for more enjoyment because it’s a frothy and sweet movie that will make you laugh and smile.

 

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