Monday, Dec. 28, 2009

The Girl From Monaco

Dark French Comedy on DVD

By David Luhrssen
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The Girl From Monaco begins as that familiar French export, the droll sex comedy, before turning down an entirely unexpected road. Set in the serene principality of Monaco, the pocketsize Riviera realm of Grace Kelly, the story concerns a high-powered Parisian attorney (Fabrice Luchini) defending a wealthy woman accused of murdering a young Russian with mob ties. Because of the vague underworld connections, the attorney is assigned a stoic, street-smart bodyguard (Roschdy Zem) to shield him from all intruders. But the guard can’t protect the lawyer from the unpredictable stirrings of the human heart (and hormones).

The attorney finds himself bewitched and bothered by a gorgeous but not too bright blond (Louise Bourgoin), the local TV weather girl. Like many men past a certain age, the attention of an attractive, vivacious and much younger woman easily flatters him. Scooting around Monaco on a Vespa, the girl seems a free spirit, unconstrained and uncomplicated—except for being desirable to most every other man, including his bodyguard. But as the lawyer should already have learned from experience, life is seldom without complications.

Director Anne Fontaine opens the film by playing on the proverbial male Marilyn Monroe fantasy with a light ironic touch. But soon enough, The Girl From Monaco explores mixed feelings and then the roiling, illogical emotions that can drive human behavior to destructive and inexplicable ends.

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