Friday, May 11, 2007

Priceless (Hors De Prix)

Don't Tempt Me, I'm Gay

Transportation S$3.00
Movie Ticket S$9.00
Fried Chicken S$3.80
A Good Movie That Entertains? Priceless.

Directed by Pierre Salvadori, Pricess is one heck of a delightful gem. It is playful, cheeky, touching yet breezy, and boasts excellent chemistry between its leads, which is crucial to pull off a romantic comedy so dependent on their banter and interaction.

Audrey Tautou plays Irene, a high maintenance gold digging prostitute who flits from one elderly man to another, in the hopes of seducing and convincing them into marriage, while in the meantime milking all she could from their company. It's haute couture fashion label name dropping, living the high life in expensive hotel suites, for free. In an uncontrollable one night stand, she hooks up with waiter Jean (Gad Elmaleh), who while is totally out of her league, falls hard for her, and becomes a constant thorn in her side as she goes about her mission in life.

Not your usual romance movie where the bickering couple are expected to kiss, make up, and bicker some more, Priceless does two things in its narrative. One, in its reminder to the male suckers out there to be wary of high maintenance women - if you don't have what it takes (and that simply means a really fat bankroll), forget about it, as she'll drain your finances as simply as it takes to gulp down a glass of water. Two, perhaps it really does pay for those who are kept men and women, if they don't mind trading their bodies for material pleasures that a rich life can offer.

And from adversaries to partners in crime, Priceless sprinkles its narrative with scenes like from The Guru, where tips and tricks of the trade are shared, and played for laughs. And this is especially so with Jean's natural charms mixed with Mr Bean like demeanour. Kudos actually to actor Gad Elmaleh, who throws this constant innocent blank look, when he's hamming it up pretending to be loaded, or practising turning on his charms (consciously or otherwise). He brings to Jean a sense of helplessness in falling for the woman of his dreams much against his finances, and gives Jean that chivalrous character that will surely win many over.

Fans of Audrey Tautou will reminisce her portrayal as Irene to be similar to the quirky Amelie, only that this time round, she's the complete slut whom you pity for having such a materialistic nature. Her plunging necklines all the way down to the navel will no doubt raise temperatures, and while noticeably older, has brought about a sense of maturity from giggling girl to all woman.

Peppered with an excellent soundtrack, the best songs were kept for a party scene, and for as many party scenes featured in various movies, I'd rate this one as one of the most interesting, thanks to the key music, characters, and the scene that plays out just right. With so many elements working in its favour, I'd rate this as a contender for the top movies of this year. Don't let this movie slip pass you in this crowded blockbuster summer!

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