Film Review: ‘Heartbreaker’ Makes Romantic Comedy Look Effortless

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CHICAGO – If there’s one genre Hollywood has managed to screw up beyond all recognition, it’s the romantic comedy. Many of the worst films in recent years have brought the genre to an all-time low, such as “Leap Year,” “Love Happens,” and anything starring Gerard Butler. These dumbed-down products use stereotypes in place of characters, incessant sparring in place of chemistry and gooey sentiment in place of a tangible heart. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

That’s what makes “Heartbreaker” such a delight. Though the film is a hit comedy from France, it absolutely does not (and should not) warrant an American remake. First-time feature director Pascal Chaumeil has crafted a film so slick and enjoyable, not to mention pop-culture savvy, that it could easily win over mainstream audiences in the U.S., regardless of its subtitles. Plus the film provides an ideal showcase for two stars armed with formidable international appeal. It also helps that neither of the actors are well-schooled in the genre, which allows them to bring a freshness and authenticity to material that’s otherwise formulaic.

StarRead Matt Fagerholm’s full review of “Heartbreaker” in our reviews section.

Best known for his breakout work in “The Spanish Apartment” and “The Beat That My Heart Skipped,” Romain Duris has proven to be one of the most charismatic actors on the planet, and in “Heartbreaker,” he demonstrates his deft ability to navigate the timing and physicality of screwball comedy. His natural charm offsets the less appealing aspects of his character, who is a con artist with a warped sense of integrity. Duris plays Alex Lippi, a suave ladykiller who breaks hearts for a living, while mending them with fabricated hope.

The film’s enticing 13-minute prologue sets up an intriguing premise, following Alex through one of his standard jobs. His clients pay him to break up couples whose relationship has become rancid, at least in the opinion of the client. Alex seduces each woman away from her boyfriend, just enough to let her realize that she deserves better. This is achieved through the use of extensive research into the woman’s background, designed to make her fall for Alex in much the same way Andie MacDowell fell for Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.”

‘Heartbreaker’ stars Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier, François Damiens, Héléna Noguerra, Jacques Frantz and Andrew Lincoln. It was written by Laurent Zeitoun & Jeremy Doner & Yohan Gromb and directed by Pascal Chaumeil. It opened on Sept. 17th at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema. It is not rated.

StarContinue reading for Matt Fagerholm’s full “Heartbreaker” review.

Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis star in Pascal Chaumeil’s Heartbreaker.
Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis star in Pascal Chaumeil’s Heartbreaker.
Photo credit: IFC Films

Anonymous's picture


sorry guys you have got it all wrong AGAIN. Gerry Butler films make an absolute mint so we the public have the say so on this one and as I said he has put over a billion into the box office. We the fans number in the miliions so we won’t be seeing Heartbreaker.

Love ya
Joan,xxxxxx (HUG) xxxx

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