It's not high art, but Pierre Salvadori's (Aprez Vous
) sunny romantic comedy Priceless
is certainly funny. Audrey Tautou
(of pixie Amelie
fame) sheds her peachy clean image with the role of Irene, a paid companion of wealthy older men in the South of France. Suitors and their credit cards in tow, she hops from one ritzy Cote d'Azur hotel to another -- until she meets Jean (Gad Elmaleh), a dorky hotel employee whom she mistakes for a millionaire.
Irene makes no excuses: she wants men who provide her with clothes and jewelry and meals at the finest restaurants, preferably with shark-tooth silverware. Much like Holly Golighty but without Audrey Hepburn's highbrow polish, she's strictly for hire. Jean desperately wants her - even when his ruse is exposed. He wants her, whatever the cost: he'll spend his last Euro, but he won't judge her.
Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh in "Priceless"Samuel Goldyn Films
Once he's broke, Jean becomes Irene's prodigy and learns how to survive as a gigolo. The ups and downs of this odd couple's love affair are a pleasure to watch -- the Riviera is unfaillingly gorgeous, the jokes flirt with slapstick, and Audrey Tautou looks mighty fine tramped up in ridiculously low cut couture dresses.
Priceless, a Samuel Goldwyn Film, opens on March 28, 2008 in limited release.