SIFF Review: The Girl From Monaco

2009 SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FEATURE!
Rated R
95 minutes
Soudaine Compagnie

**

“The Girl From Monaco” is party buddy-comedy, part romantic tragedy. If it had been more of the former than the latter, perhaps I would have liked it. But I am so tired or stories about men who are powerless against the wiles of a Succubus.

What’s a succubus, you might ask? Well, it’s somewhat synonymous with a Femme Fatale – a woman who uses her sexuality to manipulate men into doing whatever she wants, usually to their detriment. However, a Succubus is different because she doesn’t seem dangerous at first. She’s usually fun and flirty and might even seem a little simple. But she knows what she’s doing. She finds a target and puts her claws into them, not letting go until they’ve convinced themselves they’re in love with her. Audrey (Louise Bourgoin), the titular girl, is one of those ladies. A townie from Monaco, she meets a Parisian lawyer named Bertrand (Fabrice Luchini) who is there working on a case. Inevitably, he allows her to worm her way into his life and wreak havoc.

Audrey is a local weather girl who got her start, naturally, on a reality TV show. In addition to musical weather reporting (it’s true, Succubi love to sing), she also reports short human-interest stories. She decides to do one on Bertrand so that she can get closer to him. It’s clear from the start that Audrey has sugar-baby ambitions. She’s not very smart but she knows how to make a man do what she wants. In Bertrand, she sees the opportunity to have a life of leisure in Paris.

Since Bertrand is working on a high-profile case, he is assigned a bodyguard named Cristophe (Roschdy Zem). Christophe is a serious and straight-laced guy with a direct manner of speaking. Physically, he’s a cross between Lou Ferrigno and President Obama. He also happens to be Audrey’s ex. (Not that it’s a coincidence. Apparently, she’s slept with everyone on the island. Like, literally.) Contrasted with the irrational, shortsighted Bertram, Christophe’s way of handing things is pretty amusing. That’s the buddy-comedy aspect that could have worked. But this movie isn’t called “The Lawyer and the Bodyguard.” It’s the fucking “Girl From Monaco.” So instead of hilarious differences of opinion and high-speed chases, it’s scene after scene of Bertram being suckered by a Succubus.

Bertrand is supposed to be an awesome lawyer – a miracle worker. But he’s bumbling and a terrible judge of character. He has issues with two other women before encountering Audrey, both of them failures in some capacity or another. Clearly Audrey isn’t an exception to his normally discerning love life. He’s actually kind of a schmuck too. It makes it hard to feel sorry for him.

For a while, it makes things a little more fun to imagine Christophe as Barack Obama, securing perimeters and dispensing advice. But mostly, it’s annoying watching Bertrand fall for Audrey’s shit over and over again. And then Christophe proves that he’s learned nothing from his own past with Audrey. Oh, Mr. President! How could you?! If some men are really like this, I don’t want to know about it.

Originally posted on FilmThreat.com (now defunct).

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