In his latest outing, "Hors de prix," Gad Elmaleh ("The Valet") is following in the footsteps of some mighty predecessors:
  • William Holden in "Sunset Boulevard"
  • Gene Kelly in "An American in Paris"
  • George Peppard in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Are you starting to get a glimmer? Elmaleh works at an upscale Parisian hotel where he is a bellhop, dog-walker, waiter, busboy and (sometimes) bartender. Audrey Tautou ("Amelie" and "The Da Vinci Code") is a conniving, resourceful, high-priced "companion" to much older, very wealthy men. She first encounters our hero in the wee small hours of the morning, when he is filling in at the hotel bar in the bartender's absence. Because he is dressed nicely, she assumes he is a patron, not a mere employee. Of course, she is tres attractive and charming, so he clumsily allows her to believe it, and proceeds to dig himself a hole he can't get out of, so he too, in a great cinematic tradition (see above), becomes a "companion."

French actress Audrey Tautou has been compared favorably to our own, sorely missed, Audrey Hepburn, with her expressive eyes, pencil-thin frame and blinding smile. Personally, I think the resemblance is slight, but I can see why people make that comparison. Tautou is an appealing actress in her own right, why try to find resemblances? Watch for her demonstration of a far-away look; she's really good! You can actually SEE her eyes cloud over.

I very much enjoyed watching her teach him some of the tricks of the trade and got a giggle out of them comparing their "take": Jewelry, watches, clothes, even a scooter. They are hard-working professionals and you actually want to see them do well. It was fun to recognize the little ploys they used and to appreciate how well they worked. Marie-Christine Adam is the wealthy older woman who becomes Gad's "sponsor." She is indeed, a cougar worthy of the title.

Of course this is a romantic comedy, so don't go expecting car chases, gunfights, explosions or any other blowie uppie stuff, just two attractive people scrambling to find their way...and maybe each other...in beautiful settings, with pretty clothes and upscale surroundings.

I liked it.