The moment I realised that a French romcom was seeing an English dubbed release for itself, I was reasonably excited. After all a film like this coming from the land of love is most welcome, especially so when you are further informed that it was a smash success in France. However the end results left me with mixed feelings. Yes, it was fairly entertaining but then one can't ignore the fact either that if you have seen dozens of other romcoms churned out of Hollywood at an alarming pace, you have seen it and done all.
There is all the more reason for one to feel a little discontent since other than the basic premise; there isn't much innovation at play here despite the film coming from a team that may have just made something far more interesting had it avoided being influenced by its Western counterparts. After all the plotline is quite interesting, what with Romain Duris playing a man who, along with his sister and her brother, specialises in breaking relationships for women who may be 'unknowingly unhappy' in love.
Pretty much an antithesis of Will Smith's 'Hitch', the film had abundance of opportunities to play around with the romcom elements here. Director Pascal Chaumeil succeeds in setting up context as well by showcasing the modus operandi of Romain. However the moment Vanessa Paradis enters the scene, a young woman whose father hires Duris to do the needful, you know the route that 'Heartbreaker' would take from this point on.
With a predictable setup to it, the need of the hour was to have enough moments that would keep you engaged for those 100 odd minutes. Well, to be fair to Pascal, you do have a smile on your face for most part of the narrative though there isn't much guessing game involved as you know that ultimately Duris would find true love on Vanessa and instead of being a 'heartbreaker', he would find his own match.
This is one of the main reasons why you are not really satiated while watching Duris' attempts at making Vanessa move away from her boyfriend. There is an occasional chuckle or two but still it is the sheer predictability factor that results in the charm being diluted. Frankly, a setup like this may have been probably innovative for French cinema but for those brought up on a steady dose of films coming out of Hollywood, 'Heartbreaker' is definitely not a first.
You may want to watch it but only if 'one romcom every weekend' is what forms an essential ingredient of your weekend diet.