2006 R 102 minutes
Irène (Audrey Tautou), who makes a fortune sweet-talking rich men, puts the moves on klutzy Jean (Gad Elmaleh), unaware that he's just a hotel bartender. But by the time Irène realizes her mistake, Jean is hopelessly smitten with her. Letting men down easy has never been Irène's strong suit, but she finds a way to mend Jean's broken heart that ensures he'll never have to mix cocktails again. Vernon Dobtcheff co-stars in this wacky French farce.
The 73rd Virgin sez...I would like to think I'm as moral as any modern movie viewer, but I liked this utterly amoral and wickedly funny movie more than any comedy since "There's Something About Mary." Beneath the samba music, sun-drenched Riviera locations, meticulously presented details of luxury living and cynical dialog are some life lessons, hilariously presented. The series of scenes where Irene teaches Jean how to score as many goodies as possible from his sugar mama are all funny and truthful, culminating with "you're not rich, you just have reserves" - summing up an entire world view for some.
Gad Elmaleh is endlessly inventive in his physical comedy shifting from lovestruck puppy to suave gigolo to Euro gentry. It has been impossible not to like Audrey Tatou's various quirky and rather non-threatening, or pitiful, heroines. But here she gets to show off every physical and facial asset in a character that is pure threat. Blindingly beautiful and completely avaricious, she is not the hooker with a heart of gold, but a more complex being who knows exactly what she's worth in the meat market of the fabulously rich. She is only knocked off balance by a strangely competent dweeb who accepts her utterly for what she is and spends his last euro to be with her. Only after she has pulled him down to her level and discovered that he is as talented as she, can she feel something that shifts from big sister-ish to something that will have to pass for love. Tatou's expressions in close-up are unbelievably delicate. She shifts from ruthlessness to pity to attraction and back to ruthlessness in a matter of seconds and is convincing every step of the way. Any other actress from any continent and any era would seem garish and broad in comparison.
But enough of my hyperventilating - this is a great comedy with an improbably sweet ending but no comforting clear idea of what would happen to these characters next. 5 stars out of 5.