Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published October 26th 2013
French rom-com is no Heartbreaker
Director: Pascal Chaumeil (Heartbreaker) Cast: Dany Boon, Diane Kruger, Alice Pol, Robert Plagnol
French director Pascal Chaumeil hit the jackpot with his feature debut Heartbreaker, starring Vanessa Paradis and Romain Duris. Considering its massive success, it's no surprise to see him revisit high concept rom com territory with his follow up, Fly Me to the Moon.
Jean-Yves (Dany Boon) and Isabelle (Diane Kruger) on a faux whirlwind romance in Africa
These days writers tie themselves in knots trying to come up with novel ways for a man and a woman to take an entire movie to realise they're made for each other. After all, we have less customs, formalities and prudence now, and the mechanics of getting two people to orbit each other without actually getting it on don't come so naturally anymore.
This brings us to the central construct of Fly Me to the Moon, which, it has to be said, is quite ridiculous. Diane Kruger's Isabelle believes she has inherited a unique curse - all the women in her family have disastrous first marriages. She doesn't want to jinx her future with long time boyfriend, Pierre, so to beat the curse, she decides to quickly marry the first inappropriate chump she meets and get a quick divorce.
Enter Jean-Yves (Dany Boon), clearly Mr Wrong. Isabelle soon sets to work on duping him into a fast-track wedding with an unhappy ending. Clearly a huge suspension of disbelief is required to go along with this only-in-the-movies scenario.
The biggest challenge, however, is whether you can forgive Diane Kruger's scheming, selfish character enough to believe she deserves either of the men she's deceiving.
What the film does have going for it is the one essential ingredient of any decent rom com - chemistry between its leads. Boon does his usual loveable buffoon schtick, which never gets tiresome. It's easy to see why he's such a big star in France. Despite failing to make her character any more sympathetic, Kruger at least has an easy physical connection with Boon.
Another parallel to Heartbreaker is the use of exotic locations. Conveniently, Jean-Yves is a travel writer, so there are plenty of excuses for elaborately picturesque backdrops.
It's a rare thing for a contemporary film to get both the rom and the com firing on all cylinders. This is a case of the comedy working better than the romance. It's really just a silly bit of fluff, but incurable romantics will likely get a kick out of it. For me, the outtakes during the end credits are the best part.