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Gad Elmaleh and Audrey Tautou in Priceless

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

AUDREY Tautou provides a deeply alluring presence in French Riviera-based comedy Priceless, a slick but soulless update of Breakfast At Tiffany’s that’s eye-catching but forgettable fun.

The actress plays beautiful gold-digger Irene who is tricked into bedding cash-strapped waiter Jean (Jad Elmaleh) in the belief that he’s as rich as her elderly fiance (Vernon Dobtcheff).

When the truth emerges, Irene heads off in a huff for another town and another benefactor, while the smitten Jean follows in hot pursuit, determined to win her for himself.

He attempts to do so by seducing his own rich widow (Marie-Christine Adam) and playing Irene at her own game – gradually winning her respect as the two swap tips on how best to fleece their wealthy patrons. But as romance beckons, will it ultimately get in the way of their new rich lifestyles?

Pierre Salvadori’s film is certainly as easy on the eye as its luxurious settings and engaging protagonists but it’s also as slight and material driven.

There’s undeniably a guilty pleasure from seeing some of the rich co-stars being taken for a ride but then it’s also difficult to sympathise wholeheartedly with the central characters, such is their greedy desire. It also stretches credibility somewhat to think that Tautou’s stunning Irene would have to resort to fleecing rich elderly men, rather than handsome young Riviera playboys.

But for those willing to go with the flow, there’s some clever manipulations to savour and the one upmanship between Irene and Jean is genuinely fun. Tautou is also ravishing, providing the sort of sexy, scheming and utterly playful star turn that has helped to make her one of France’s hottest properties. She is the film’s priceless asset and the main reason for seeing it.

In French, with subtitles

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 105mins
UK DVD Release: October 13, 2008