La Fille de Monaco (The Girl from Monaco) Reviews
Essentially a dramedy about the perilous line between love and sexual obsession, this film is interesting when it's not trying to be funny and funny in all the right ways. Professional critics have complained about the thriller element to this film, but though it eventually winds its way to a thriller-esque conclusion, by classifying it as a dramedy, a drama with comic elements, I found things to like. After all, the idea of a film with all the trappings of a romantic comedy but which takes its themes seriously and probably surprised even the filmmakers is refreshing in the genre.
Louise Bourgoin as the mercurial sex kitten who seduces the main character is beautiful, and her acting talents make her character's weather-like changes believable. Fabrice Luchini is also quite good; I think my favorite moment is his nearly catatonic dive into the pool.
Overall, I found the mixed elements of The Girl from Monaco satisfying and entertaining.
I enjoyed watching myself
The film's a typically French triple-character study. And typically French romance pairs a middle-aged man with a 20-something dish; here it's a droll barrister (Lucchini) with a local weather-channel bunny and all-night party girl (Bourgoin). Since Bourgoin actually IS a French weather-channel bunny, you know this script was hashed-up on-the-fly - and that in itself isn't a good omen. The third wheel is Lucchini's wingman, a stoic up-from-the-streets bodyguard (Zem).
Lucchini's in town to defend a murderous SugarMomma and, as the trial progresses, Bourgoin full-court-presses Lucchini for reasons unknown. Zem once 'knew' Bourgoin and warns Lucchini off, to no avail. As the trial drags on, so does the trio's ever deepening interaction.
And so what was first promised as light-hearted RomCom fare (via opening credits gandering Monte Carlo nightlights while Nat King Cole's croonin' "L-O-V-E") slowly turns to more serious stuff. Unfortunately, the characters just don't engage viewers as French characterizations usually do. At fin, the viewer's choice is "are they crazy" or "who cares."
Still, the film's stylings, conclusion and character studies are all just 'oh-so-French' that it still somewhat satisfies. Lucchini delivers neatly the poor cards he's dealt. Bourgoin is eye-candy enough, half-dressed in half-a-dozen killer outfits. Zem delivers stoic well since his acting seems to be in dry-dock.
Loose-and-dead-ends abound in a script whipped-up so everyone gets paid to take Monaco sun. SugarMomma's trial is totally irrelevant and defense strategy incomprehensible. Zem appears clueless about bodyguarding. And there's rumblings about lurking Russian mobsters - and Zem 'wanting' Lucchini - that lead nowhere.
RECOMMENDATION: French cinema buffs will find it a pleasant-enough 90 minutes, nothing more. Others should take a pass.