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Apr 29, 2008

Fletch's Film Review: Priceless (Hors de Prix)

When you're watching a movie and can't place where you've seen an actor from, is there anything more satisfying than hopping on the computer when you get home and getting the answer? I had another such moment this weekend while/after watching the Audrey Tautou-starring Priceless. Tautou stars as Anna Nicole Smith. Well, not really, but she might as well have been, playing the biggest gold digger this side of the deceased Texas belle (minus the psychological and pharmaceutical issues). Amongst the many men she seduces is an older, balding gentleman with a very prominent nose. I knew I had seen this guy before, but where?

So I'm searching his filmography...sure, he's been in a lot of American films, some that I might have even seen, but nothing was clicking. Through the 00s...heading back through the 90s and still nothing. Finally, there it was. Here's a big hint - a picture of the man either in the role I was thinking of or just one where he has the same outfit on:

I never would have come up with the movie, though I've seen it tens of times. His name is Vernon Dobtcheff, and what was probably throwing me off was the fact that Priceless is a French flick, and let's just say he looks a lot more French in the movie (he is in fact French) than he does in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where he played a butler at the Nazi castle ("This is a castle. And we have many tapestries. And if you are Scottish Lord, then I am Mickey Mouse"). I felt so much better.

As for the movie itself, it's nothing groundbreaking, but it is quite a bit of fun. Tautou co-stars with Gad Elmaleh, who has one of the worst names I've ever seen. Mrs. Fletch thought he had somewhat of an Adrien Brody vibe going on, but I think that's just because his nose resembles Brody's somewhat. Anyway, Elmaleh plays Jean, a jack-of-all-trades at a snazzy resort. Tautou is the object of his (and many other's) interest, a beautiful but shallow princess who craves nothing more than diamonds, clothes and money, and lots of it. Enter a zany set of circumstances that leads Tautou's Irene to believe that Elmaleh's Jean is a jet-setter himself and you have the makings of a romantic comedy.

It's the kind of story you've probably seen a hundred times, so the film lives and dies by the script and the stars, and I'm glad to say that both are deserving of a viewing. Tautou, known to American audiences as Amelie and not much more, displays a side of her we've not really seen, vamping it up and enjoying the bitch role as much as she can, at one point stooping so low as to accept a single cent of Jean's money so that he can spend some more time with her. Elmaleh, meanwhile, more than carries his own as the film's lead, displaying physical comedy chops and the ability to go from doofus to debonair at the drop of a hat. The rest falls to the pace and the writing, which both are somewhat choppy (the film feels longer than necessary, even at just 104 minutes) but still winning, featuring several laugh out loud moments.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"Darn tootin!"

1 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Priceless (Hors de Prix)"

Daniel G. said...

Nice. I plan on catching this here after the film festival wraps. Audrey T. needs another breakout role.