The Girl From Monaco

There's not much to this thin, sun-drenched concoction about a straight-arrow Paris lawyer (Fabrice Luchini) who descends on the titular Côte d'Azur resort to defend an accused murderess (Chabrol muse Stéphane Audran), only to find himself distracted by the tawdry charms of the local TV weather girl (Louise Bourgoin), who happens to be the ex of his 24/7 bodyguard (Roschdy Zem). Writer-director Anne Fontaine (who will helm the upcoming biopic Coco Before Chanel) keeps the tone hovering—often uncertainly, sometimes intriguingly—between film noir and farce, but the modest pleasure of the film issues chiefly from the performances. There's a sly, subtle tension to the byplay between the somewhat effete Luchini and the authoritatively masculine Zem (who isn't exactly jealous of his client's burgeoning romance, but doesn't approve of it either), while Bourgoin—a former Canal+ weather girl making her screen debut—proves a force of nature unto herself. Bursting onto the screen and nearly out of her gaudy, cleavage-hugging couture, slurring her lines in what can best be described as a French equivalent of Valspeak, she moves through the film in a blissfully ditzy haze, leaving every man onscreen—and many in the audience—helpless in her wake.

 
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