Last night my girlfriend dragged me to a chick flick. Fortunately for me, my girl has pretty good taste and it happened to be a French chick flick. Priceless doesn't redefine the genre, but it does prove most European mainstream films have a lot more going for them than most mainstream American films.
"Love conquers all" is certainly not an original theme, yet clichéd or not, this telling feels both fresh and intelligent. Whereas American chick flicks portray women as lonely, hopeless and dying to meet Mr. Right, Priceless establishes its female lead as anything but. Audrey Tautou's Irène is an icy predator, a materialistic bitch with no redeeming qualities other than a great body every designer dress she dons showcases. Here the male lead Jean (Gad Elmaleh) is the hapless and hopeless romantic, who is desperate to melt the ice queen's heart. While this setup might call to mind the Coen Brother's Intolerable Cruelty, it doesn't suffer from IC's achilles heel: aping the films it was inspired by. The Coen's film is an all too obvious tribute to Howard Hawk's screwball romantic comedies, so much so, their respect for Hawk's becomes the very crutch that renders IC lame. Priceless also pays respect to classic French comedies (ie. the films of Louis de Funès and Jacques Tati) but, unlike IC, it never gets bogged down by its influences. Priceless manages to make the old seem new and it is buoyed by its charm, its nuanced writing and the performances of the two leads.
Gad Elmaleh who plays the naïve Jean, not only nails every bit of physical comedy assigned to him, but he also provides Priceless with its heart. You can't help but feel his pain as you see in his eyes the heartache and humiliation inflicted upon him by Tautou's Irène. Throughout the film Elmaleh effortlessly expresses a wide range of emotions and even though the comedy is, at times, broad it never feels contrived and always feels natural.
I'm not going to go over the top and call this a masterpiece, but if you've got to sacrifice some blood and sit through a chick flick after subjecting your better half to a Herzog marathon (as I recently did), then Priceless is the perfect choice.
Comedy / Romance
Comedy / Romance
In Biarritz with her elderly provider to celebrate her birthday, Irene slips down to the hotel bar when he falls asleep on her. She mistakes barman Jean for a well-healed guest and he encourages the deceit by taking her up to the Royal Suite for the night. A year later the same thing happens but this time her lover finds out and disowns her. Now knowing Jean is indeed a barman of little means doesn't stop her from continuing to live in style until his money is gone. He soon finds himself in Irene's business with older and worldly-wise Madeleine, and though Irene also takes up with a new paramour the two of them keep in increasingly close touch.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 18, 2021 at 11:55 PM