Sex in the city-state

An erotic thriller thatâ??s neither

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The Girl From Monaco
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Rated: R
Cast: Roschdy Zem, Fabrice Luchini, Louise Bourgoin, Gilles Cohen, Jeanne Balibar
Director: Anne Fontaine
WorkNameSort: Girl From Monaco, The
Our Rating: 2.00

Sloppily constructed, this darkly romantic French farce concerns a doughy, over-the-hill superstar defense attorney (Fabrice Luchini) who takes on a high-profile case. That case merits him a personal bodyguard (Roschdy Zem) and a fling with a local weather girl (Louise Bourgoin) who quickly wraps the lawyer around her finger. Although stunningly photographed ' the setting will have you running home to check flight prices to the luxurious city-state in the title ' The Girl From Monaco can't decide on a tone or a proper ending.

The first half unravels teasingly as we follow the dazed and confused Luchini through crazy ex-girlfriends and nights out, living it up in a decidedly rich-old-guy way as he waits to try the case of his career, all under the stern and disapproving eye of Zem, who appears out of nowhere to make sure the lawyer survives the trial. Luchini's character doesn't make it an easy task, as he's quickly wooed and begins making dangerous, sexually motivated decisions with a brazen blonde beauty who might have ulterior motives.

The film is written and directed by Anne Fontaine, who, from most advance reports, saved her best work for her current festival-riding biopic, Coco Avant Chanel. Monaco feels like exactly what it is: a warm-up lark. Plot strands are thrown around as if they are red herrings but turn out simply to be forgotten loose ends, and the limp conclusion is as unsatisfying and awkward as, well, an old attorney bedding a hot young weather girl â?¦ at least from her perspective. But down to the important business: Which Eurorail do I hop on to get there?

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