The Heartbreaker makes for rom-com noir

Seldom would I willingly watch a romantic comedy, let alone blog about it. Clearly French language film The Heartbreaker with Romain Dupis and Johnny Depp’s wife not only breaks the Rom Com mould, but tears it a permanent new proverbial.

How could this be possible you ask? Well first and foremost it’s French. Apparently there’s not a benign, easily offended “mid west” in France that easily gets offended by anything without cheese on it. This allows them a certain well, humourous levity in their films that their lumpen American counterparts somehow can’t achieve. Probably because they couldn’t sell the DVD at the Starbucks counter in Walmart or something equally banal.

The humour straight off the bat is in Dupus, who plays a cute, cuddly pathological liar who works with a crack trio of professional relationship breaker-uppers. But you see they’re ethical: “they open minds, not legs” and move onto the next. Their mission statement alone and it’s apparent Frenchness was funny enough but it gets better. Because yes, The Heartbreaker does schmaltzty romantic moments, like a complete recreation of the main Dirty Dancing ‘I’ve had the time of my life…’ scene.

Somehow though, you never cringe without smiling ear-to-ear. This rom com has an attitude and edginess to the humour and a mise-en-scene that makes this genre work. And on balance makes it a great movie in any genre. It has brilliant locations such as Morocco, Paris and Monaco and it just works. Somehow Johnny Depp’s wife (I really can’t be bothered looking up her name) is a geniunely believable toff that is totally not fazed by Dupis’ charm and exuberance. She has plenty of her own. The supporting cast, who is primarily a married couple that play multiple support roles in Dupus’ ruses to win women’s hearts and thus free them from their broken relationships are hilarious. They are so fond of acting as lackies and background people, in one scene they actually pick each other up while in character!

Rest assured, the Americans will remake this movie. It will have smatherings of ranch sauce and there will be a complimentary chocolate bar or happy meal deal to go with it. But it will suck.  The French might not make many good V8 utes, but they now own this genre. They just do. And The Heartbreaker is now the hallmark of it.

The Heartbreaker is showing at the Nova and Kino cinemas now.

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