Directed By: Pierre Salvadori
Written By: Benoît Graffin, Pierre Salvadori
Starring: Audrey Tatou, Gad Elmaleh, Marie-Christine Adam, Vernon Dobtcheff
Running Time: 104 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sexual content including nudity
3.5 out of 5 stars
I have a love-hate relationship with romantic comedies that resembles more of a hate-hate relationship most of the time. As genres go, it isn’t sitting at the bottom of my barrel (musical bio-pic, I’m looking at you), but it’s close. Tack on the word ‘French’ to the beginning and things become even more problematic. From the heights of absolute adoration (Amelie) to the depths pure hatred (Love Me If You Dare, perhaps one of the worst films I have ever seen), the French take on the romantic comedy consistently elicits extreme reactions from me. They are experimental with their rom-coms as often as we are generic with ours, but the results are not always palatable, or even coherent for that matter. So it was with trepidation that I popped my screener of Priceless into the DVD player, hoping for the best but bracing myself to be emotionally assaulted with the worst. Surprisingly, the latest Audrey Tatou (Amelie, The Da Vinci Code) vehicle doesn’t register at either extreme, but sits comfortably somewhere in the middle.
Perhaps the greatest shock in Priceless is that the eternally charming Tatou is out-charmed in every scene by Elmaleh, who owns this film like Peter Sellars owned The Pink Panther. She might be the marketing hook (notice how many other actors share the poster with her), but he’s the reason to show up. From bumbling dog walker to naively blushing virgin to suave seducer, Elmaleh turns in a magnificent performance, effortlessly convincing us of Jean’s ugly duckling transformation. And not only is his acting a joy to watch, he’s also howlingly funny. One particular sequence, in which he prank calls Irené’s elderly benefactor, offering him pre-masticated food as part of the hotel’s “senior package,” had me in tears.
About the Author:
Evan Derrick loves movies, loves talking about movies, and even makes them from time to time. In the rare moment when movies aren’t consuming his grey matter, he enjoys eating grilled cheese sandwiches, playing with his baby daughter, and pretending to be the senior editor for MovieZeal.com. Use the Tulsa Today search feature to read previous reviews by this author.