“Priceless” – Chris Luedtke

Nothing scares me more than seeing good actors/actresses doing crappy, cliched films, especially cliched films surrounding people taking on the classic love versus money scenario. It’s a genre that’s been played hundreds of times and will continue to be played hundreds of times. Why? Because apparently there’s something deep down at the bottom of this cesspool that keeps people coming back for more “ooos” and “ahhhs,” as if the ending is something new. Luckily, there are writers and directors out there that still have a fresh take on this overplayed, over-hyped, asinine idea: enter Priceless.

Jean (Gad Elmaleh) is your average, mild-mannered hotel butler with a knack for being clumsy and awkward. After drifting off on the couch during the night shift, Jean meets Irene (Audrey Tautou), a girl who dates men for their money and is intent on finding one that is going to set her up for life. Unfortunately for Irene, she just got dumped and the only person she has to fall back on is poor Jean.

Priceless is one of those films that knows how to have fun. Instead of being preachy about love and its attempts to trump money, it focuses more on having fun and creating laughs. The film is, on whole, a satire in every respect. If you’ve ever heard about the girls that go around extorting money out of rich single men (and vise versa), then you’ll find this film very humoring. The clash between Jean and Irene is amazing. Often they act like a couple but at the same time keep focus on money. The front that they put up is something to both marvel and weep at (see the pool scene).

Acting here is great as always. Tautou and Elmaleh do a great job as the conflicted lovers. Elmaleh’s constant pursuit of Tautou is just cute. Although Elmaleh’s character can come off as a little too righteous sometimes, it doesn’t take away from the experience; on the contrary, it helps to build tension. Tautou’s character is also so well-developed, you’ll almost wish for her unhappiness sometimes. Tautou knows how to play one mean girl, and her character holds nothing back at times. It brings to question the sincerity of her character sometimes, and that just makes everything so
much more interesting.

Priceless is a refreshing riff on an overplayed genre. The comedy/romance idea has become so tainted in this critic’s eyes that it sometimes seems irredeemable. Seeing Priceless has happily showed me that romantic comedies are fun when done right, with colorful characters and refreshing ideas. Sure, the ending is seen coming before you even pop in the DVD, but the with the trip Priceless takes us on, who cares?

Rating: ★★★½

-Chris Luedtke

Leave a Reply