Thursday, August 9, 2012

Priceless (Hors de Prix) (2006) [PG-13] ****

There's an old saying that some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Well, Irène (Audrey Tautou) is one of those people. Young, beautiful and talentless, Irène prowls the hotels, casinos and parties of Monte Carlo, Monaco, hoping to snag an ultra-rich older man who would marry her and set her up for life. Of course, the ultra-rich older men know what the beautiful young girls want; they keep the girls interested by giving them clothes, accessories, jewelry, and sumptuous meals, and by renting beautiful hotel suites for them to live in. But they don't give the girls anything really expensive or lasting.

And so late one evening, Irène mistakes Jean (Gad Elmaleh), a shy hotel bartender, for a wealthy hotel guest. And while Jean knows that Irène is with Jacques (Vernon Dobtcheff) and why, he falls for her anyway. Even after Jacques dumps Irène, and she picks up Gilles (Jacques Spiesser), and even while Jean is being kept by the rich, older Madelaine (Marie-Christine Adam), he is still in love with Irène.

There's really no great mystery in this light, frothy, adorable, romantic comedy. We know that eventually Irène will wake up and realize that she loves Jean and that he's priceless. But it is the process of getting there that is so enjoyable, especially the inventive party scene in which Irène convinces Agnes (Annelise Hesme) that Jean is a very rich Dutch prince, and a much bigger catch than Jacques. The costumes, sets and cinematography are gorgeous, and there's great romantic chemistry between Tautou and Elmaleh. If you imagine Only You meets French Kiss, set on the French Riviera, you'll have a feeling of the flavor of Priceless. 

Labels: comedy, romance     
Internet Movie Database     
Metacritic 72/100     
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=69, viewers=74)     

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