The Frenchman meets this woman before finding out she is the consultant for the Russians, and as if it was fate, he falls for her. He is persistent to spend time with her, and even realizes she does not enjoy life as she should, so he attempts to make her laugh, but there is no success until he does something unintentionally - he falls over a table in a restaurant and it makes everybody, including Ninotchka, to laugh themselves silly.
After this incident, things seem to change for Ninotchka, and she even laughs during very serious matters such as while she consults the three Russians about the dispute at hand. She truly enjoys life now and she comes to like the man, Leon, a lot, and eventually falls in love. This doesn't come about without some struggles, of course, but the heart of the movie effectively tells us that life is definitely worth enjoying.
This being a comedy, I wish there was more and better humor involved, but this movie is delightful in that its message is inspiring and still does fine without "better" comedy.
Some of the jokes of the film hold up well. There's quite a few jabs made at the expense of the Soviet Union. Most of those types of jokes are pretty funny.
Advertising for this film focused on Greta Garbo and the fact the she laughs. Well... she does do that, but she delivers a very good performance as well. TVTropes would call it a defrosting of the ice queen, but it's a defrosting handled so well and so naturally by Garbo.
It's a fun little movie. It is annoying that Garbo takes so long to show up and that Bela Lugosi is only in one scene, but it has a few good laughs. It's worth checking out if only to see Garbo's very good performance. Shame 1939 had to be the best year for movies ever. Garbo got an Oscar nod for this and lost to Vivien Leigh for a little movie called Gone With The Wind.