Director    Pascal Chaumeil
Starring    Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier, François Damiens, Héléna Noguerra, Andrew Lincoln
Release    TBC (US) 2 JUL (UK)    Certificate 15
4 stars


4th July 2010

Heartbreaker is the rarest of specimens - a really great romcom. It nails both the romance and the comedy elements of the equation. The reputation of romcoms is understandably rock bottom as the Aniston-fuelled shit machine continues to churn, so it's good to be reminded that decent romantic comedies are possible and what's more, enjoyable. Remember the heady rush you got after watching When Harry Met Sally? That's what Heartbreaker delivers.

Romain Duris has picked up the mantle from Gael García Bernal as the world cinema heartthrob de jour and after proving his serious acting credentials in The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Heartbreaker gives him the opportunity to flex his comedic muscles.

[gallery] He plays Alex Lippi, a globetrotting professional breakup artist who is hired by the concerned families of women who have fallen for the wrong guy to break the couple up. It is not mean-spirited life wrecking, rather liberating women, allowing them to see they can do better and deserve true happiness. Alex brings the good looks and charisma to the outfit, transforming himself into the romantic ideal of the woman in question, giving them the time of their lives. His weapon: seduction. The research and elaborate coordination of seemingly random romantic encounters is the job of Alex's sister Melanie (Julie Ferrier) and her husband Marc (Francois Damiens), who fulfils the role of obligatory romcom oddball sidekick.

Together the three amigos are an unstoppable breakup machine... that is until they're charged with ending the engagement of Juliette (Vanessa Paradis) and Jonathan (Andrew Lincoln) in a matter of days. They appear to be the perfect couple, filthy rich highflyers living a glamorous lifestyle. Alex must use every tactic in his book of heartbreak to win Juliette over.... but oh, you guessed it, his interest in her does not remain strictly professional.

Cue a series of false starts, wrong turns, rebukes and hilarious consequences. Alex realises he must unleash the former wild child that lurks within Juliette to make her rethink her impending marriage. The course of true love never did run smooth as they say, which is just as well, because that would make a rubbish romcom.

The chemistry between Duris and Paradis beams from the screen. They are a glamorous and yet endearingly goofy pair, neither one afraid to look silly. Paradis is beguiling and this movie might be just what she needs to propel herself out from husband Johnny Depp's shadow. The supporting cast is excellent too, keeping the laughs flowing. Héléna Noguerra plays Juliette's debauched friend Sophie with lots of energy and attention-grabbing mischief, while Francois Damiens is reminiscent of Rhys Ifans' character in Notting Hill.

Heartbreaker may not shatter the romcom rule book, but it plays with the conventions with a knowing wink to the audience. Juliette's favourite film is Dirty Dancing, allowing director Pascal Chaumeil to have great fun both paying homage and gently teasing the movie. So fellas, if you're looking to score some points with your lady, take her to see Heartbreaker. Chances are you'll really enjoy it too, but we promise we won't tell.

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