Priceless (2006) starring Audrey Tautou, Gad Elmaleh, Marie-Christine Adam, Vernon Dobtcheff, Jacques Spiesser, Annelise Hesme directed by Pierre Salvadori Movie Review

Priceless (2006)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Audrey Tautou as Irne in Priceless (2006)

Breakfast with Tautou

I can image the thought process, Audrey Tautou has that elfin beauty of Audrey Hepburn so lets put her in a movie with echoes of Hepburn about it. And so we have "Priceless", a fun French romantic comedy which sees Tautou play a money grabbing young woman who works her way from one rich man to the next, think Holly Golightly but updated and in Europe. It does work because "Priceless" does feel a bit like 60's comedic romp and whilst the outcome is obvious the fun we have a long the way is entertaining.

Jean (Gad Elmaleh) is a hard working member of staff at as swanky Riviera hotel, doing one job after another which leads to him falling asleep on the sofa of the hotel bar. But he is awoken by Irene (Audrey Tautou) who is staying at the hotel with her sugar daddy and mistakes Jean for a wealthy guest especially when he takes her up to the Royal Suite for the night having drunk numerous cocktails. A year on and it happens again when Irene returns with her sugar daddy to the hotel and again thinks that Jean is a rich playboy except this time her sugar daddy discovers her late night fling, dumping her and to make matters worse she discovers that Jean is just a member of staff. Besotted with Irene, Jean follows her to Nice where an encounter with a rich older woman leads him on the path of being the play thing of the rich with Irene tutoring him on how to make the most of his situation.

Gad Elmaleh as Jean in Priceless (2006)

So basically "Priceless" is a movie about a high class prostitute and the man who fancies her who in turn also becomes a high class prostitute. It is really that simple and also that amoral yet whilst it is also obvious to the outcome, as in who will end up with who, it is a movie which charms, amuses and entertains.

Now in many ways the entertainment and charm of "Priceless" comes from the fact that it feels like an update of a 60's comedy, a mixture of "Breakfast in Tiffany's" and "Bedtime Story". And as such the first half is the comedy of Jean masquerading as a rich playboy to woo Irene, with plenty of simple comical slapstick as he tries to act sophisticated. This then evolves as things lead to Jean becoming a play thing of the rich and you have the humour of him slowly becoming good at draining the rich Madeleine for money under Irene's sophisticated tutelage. The irony is that in a way whilst we have this obvious romance between Jean and Irene as Irene realises she is in love with Jean there is not much else to it.

What is also ironic is that "Priceless" seems to have been made with Audrey Tautou in mind with the character of Irene feeling like an update on Hepburn's Holly Golightly, yet whilst Tautou's beauty and comic talent impresses it is Gad Elmaleh as Jean who steals the show. Gad is the one who delivers the humour be it a moment of ineptness, his stumbling attempt to act sophisticated or the cheeky way he shows off to Irene when he scores an expensive gift off of Madeleine. And as such whilst Tautou gives us the sexy beauty it is Elmaleh who continuously makes us laugh.

What this all boils down to is that "Priceless" is a fun modern attempt at delivering a 60's style comedy romp. It is entertaining full of charm and wit with both Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh playing their parts nicely but unfortunately it comes up just short of being classic.


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