Weekend Review: The Girl From Monaco (La fille de Monaco)

27 07 2009

The Girl From Monaco

What do you get when you mix a lawyer, his stoic bodyguard and a beautiful weather girl? In the case of The Girl From Monaco, director Anne Fontaine crafts an enjoyable, if unoriginal French comedy with darker hints of drama. The film centers around Bertrand (Patrice Luchini), a successfully dominating attorney in the courtroom, while suffering from a lack of self-esteem out of it, who arrives in Monaco to defend his wealthy client suspected of murder. In turn, Bertrand is assigned his own personal bodyguard, the reserved and dedicated Christophe (Roschdy Zem).

One thing Christophe can’t protect his client from is the forces of nature, namely a beautiful local weather girl named Audrey (played by real life former weather girl Louise Bourgoin). The free-spirited and much younger Audrey drags Bertrand out of his comfort zone as the two engage in a torrid, if frivolous affair. Before long the lawyer finds himself between the life he has meticulously constructed or the lusty and exciting possibility offered by the positively bubbly Bourgoin. Tired as the genre seems, Fontaine manages to weave in enough refreshing elements to the story, as well as the gorgeous set pieces of Monaco itself to keep the story fresh. There are twists and turns that keep the audience guessing right until the end which lifts the film above its more predictable predecessors.

As much as Audrey and Bertrand’s mismatched pairing paces the story, it is the chemistry between Luchini and Zem that really carries the film. The nuances in their relationship give a greater dimension to the plot and allow the movie to go beyond the familiar trappings of a typical romance comedy.

While entertaining, the film fails to follow through on its larger ambitions. Just when it seems willing to explore boundaries and following desire, the film plays coy with it’s audience and adds another layer of understated mystery. Stylistically, this choice which serves its purpose early on, takes away from the ending’s emotional payoff. Although it falls short of its potential, The Girl From Monaco acquits itself as a smart and entertaining comedy.

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