Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Audrey Tautou, Gad Elmaleh
Director: Pierre Salvadori
On the French Riviera, nothing comes cheap. And when it comes to men, Irene has very rich taste. One very confusing night, she is duped at her own game. Her knight in shining armor turns out to have no shine at all. Irene,... more »
Might Be a Scandal Stateside, but a Real Charmer on the Fren
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 11/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Priceless" (Hors de prix) is a romantic comedy of a sort only the French would make. Jean Simon (Gad Elmaleh) is a bartender at a posh hotel on the French Riviera so conditioned to fulfill the guests' every wish that he can't say "no". Irene Mercier (Audrey Tautou) is an attractive young woman kept by a wealthy older man whom she hopes to marry to secure a life of luxury. When Irene's companion Jacques (Vernon Dobtcheff) falls asleep and spoils her plans for the evening, Irene dejectedly saunters to the hotel bar, where she mistakes Jean for a rich guest. Jean sheepishly accommodates her mistake, and they have a drunken fling. When she returns to the hotel a year later, engaged to Jacques, their mutual attraction threatens her marriage plans, Jean's job, and everyone's equilibrium.
This is a genuinely charming and funny film, but I had to laugh at its effrontery as well as it script. "Priceless" adopts a jaunty, optimistic tone at the point when Jean and Irene begin prostituting themselves to rich patrons. This film would not be made in the Untied States. It accepts the casual exchange of sex for money as an amusing and self-evident aspect of life, and sexual jealousy simply does not exist. Irene couldn't be more charming than when she attempts to educate a smitten Jean on the arts of gold-digging and seduction. Irene and Jean's meal tickets, the wealthy bon vivants that keep them in designer fashions, are interesting and smart people themselves, which helps elevate the film.
And there is always something interesting going on the background. I enjoyed director Pierre Salvadori's peeks behind the scenes at how luxury hotels function. I was impressed by his respect for the support staffs that keep the hotels running, and it enhanced the feeling of grandeur that Irene single-mindedly seeks. "Priceless" was obviously inspired by "Breakfast at Tiffany's", a film that I don't care for. It is not as coy about the lady's profession, however. And Jean and Irene are much more appealing and good-humored leads. "Priceless" is a very good-looking film, a scandalous tale that wisely gives no hint of scandal, with a smart, funny script. There are no bonus features on the First Look 2008 DVD. Subtitles are available in English SDH and Spanish."
Diana F. Von Behren | Kenner, LA USA | 12/23/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In his 2006 film "Priceless," Pierre Salvadori delivers the utterly charming gamine Audrey Tautou ( "Amelie") adorned beautifully in luxurious designer duds against a spectacular backdrop of the uber playgrounds of the rich and richer in a supposedly light romantic comedy that should be as fun and frivolous as "The Valet (La Doublure)" but quite sadly just doesn't live up to its promise or premise.
Irene (Tautou) is the type of woman about whom all mothers warn their sons--even those sons who have passed the half-century mark. A pert and pretty 30-something year old, she preys upon men whose accumulated wealth and disposable income she more than happily helps convert into the finest jewelry, clothing and accessories to add to her collection all of which insure her an exclusive membership amongst the glitterati of Biarritz and Nice.
In the tradition of true romantic comedy, she doesn't reckon on Jean, (Gad Elmaleh) a befuddled and beleaguered pushover on the hotel wait staff whom she mistakes for one of the resort's millionaire playboys. But unlike most formula romcoms, "Priceless" abandons the poorboy-masquerading-as-richboy charade early on; our savvy French Holly GoLightly expresses her displeasure of Jean's pauper status and attempts to teach him the lesson of aspiring for something beyond his means. After Irene milks whatever paltry sum his bank accounts contain with the shameless abandon of any street hustler, the hapless Jean somehow incongruously finds himself a wealthy patron of his own and accepts his new role of gigolo and Irene's bemused how-to tutelage with the dogged eagerness to keep her in his life and a Gallic shrug of his shoulders. Suddenly the two are rivaling each other in the pursuit of accumulating bling while simultaneously attempting to avoid falling into each other's arms with little success.
Bottom Line? With such a fun and frothy adult premise, "Priceless" should have worked with the timing of Moliere and an undeniable chemistry binding the two leads. Instead, all that spectacular scenery is wasted in a flatland of blah predictability that doesn't even allow its audience to revel in anticipating what comes next. Tautou and Elmaleh don't really seem to click; rather they merely go through the motions of appearing as if they are crazy for one another without much credibility. The outcome glazes the audience over with a ho-hum superficially rather than scintillating with any real sparkle. Even the end revelation that love beats out greed suspends belief.
Diana Faillace Von Behren
Priceless is Breakfast at Tiffany's updated, set on the Rivi
Eddie Hixson | Menlo Park, CA | 01/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This gem sparkles like diamonds on display in Tiffany's. Audrey Tautou shows her physical beauty and amazing acting range, pulling off a seemingly impossible character arc from selling her self to the highest bidder to finding true love. Twists along the way let us see the world from all points of view, a rare thing in storytelling. Having it all feel seamless and natural is an amazing tour de force by actors, writers, film crew and the director. "Priceless" is one of the very few romantic comedies that can be watched again without losing an ounce of its punch. And whoever did the costumes for Ms. Tautou deserves an Academy Award."
Fairly trite and pleasantly immoral
Alan A. Elsner | Washington DC | 07/19/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Here's a romantic comedy that takes place among the super rich on the French Riviera and explores the seamier side of that life. Irene (Audrey Tautou)is basically what used to be called a gold digger. She hooks up with wealthy older men, trading sex for designer clothing, expensive meals (which she doesn't enjoy) and the eventual chance of a loveless marriage. One night, when her middle-aged paramour passes out drunk in the bedroom, she meets Jean (Gad Elmaleh) who is a barmen but whom she mistakes for a young millionaire. He's smitten - but when Irene's gentleman dumps her and she discovers Jean is not rich, she wants nothing to do with him.
He spends all his savings entertaining her for one night -- and then he himself gets picked up by an older woman and embarks on a new career as a gigolo.
Just writing down this plot makes me realize how unappealing and amoral it actually is. But the movie carries us along because the two stars are both appealing, even though they don't have much chemistry.
Now that Irene and Jean are in the same profession, they become chums -- and the rest of the movie concerns itself with Irene's slow but inevitable realization that what matters most in life is not fancy clothes but "amour."
It's pretty slight and trite but still "amusant" in its way."