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Monday, October 2, 2023

Life + Arts

Monaco’: dull, lacking

If we love Paris, then after watching The Girl From Monaco, Monaco’s new phrase should be ‘je suis d’eacute;sole’ (I am sorry).

The film opens up with a defense lawyer from Paris taking a case defending a jealous wife, who killed her husband – a mob boss who was less then faithful.

She is defended by famous lawyer Bertrand Beauvois (Fabrice Luchini), a man who keeps murderers and rapists out of prison. Despite his work, he is shown in a positive and often humorous light.

His na’iuml;ve nature has us pitying this man. Nevertheless, we trust Bertrand to keep the plot moving, until he is paired with stoic bodyguard Christophe Abadi (Roschdy Zem).

Beauvois, with his impressive dossier, doesn’t understand why anyone would want to hurt him.
He goes along with the idea, while the two have many awkward exchanges. No rule says that viewers should find the pairing of a neurotic lawyer and a statue funny.

Along with his awkwardness, Beauvois has had no luck with women. This is the complete opposite of his new accomplice, who has a baffling ability to tame women.

The lawyer is warned by Abadi about ‘Eacute;dith Lasalle (St’eacute;phane Audran), a free-spirited weather girl, but he does not take this seriously.

We are told that Abadi knows the girl well, but Beauvois is convinced he is in love. We watch as Beauvois gets involved deeper with his new girl, either unaware or too stubborn to acknowledge her infidelity and leeching nature.

Once he realizes what happened, it is too late for him to end the affair graciously, and the two are fated for disaster. Once viewers detangle the many detours in the film, the plot becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that will have the audience neither entertained nor satisfied for solving the case.

The end is surprising, but fails to add up for those who were paying attention. A simple acknowledgement from Beauvois would have helped save them all and possibly the film. Perhaps, that is what director Anne Fontaine hoped for.

Some films are too deeply plotted to have a genre, and this was not one of those films. Aside from the principality’s amazing scenery and watching the beautiful Lasalle hopping on and off her scooter in a mini-skirt, the film oscillates between average and the mundane.

The partnership between Luchini and Zem tries to break new ground, but cannot find the appropriate tools to do so. The two turn out to be too similar to be dysfunctional and too worried to be funny.

Even when the suspense sets in, the two are unable to fill the screen with the acting it needs.

The use of the trial, though an interesting premise, fails to lead anywhere. Even after the bodyguard is revealed and the plot starts to turn, the trial takes up the many dead spaces where the thin romance fails to carry the film.

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