The Valet

The Valet

The Valet

directed by Francis Verber

starring Gad Elmaleh, Alice Taglioni, Daniel Auteuil

Gaumont Columbia Tristar

I knew there were French ‘Chick Flicks’ out there, but this is first one I’ve actually ever seen. Baleful loser Francois Pignon (Elmaleh) parks cars and pines for bookstore owner Emilie (Virginia Ledoyen). One day he accidentally appears in a paparazzi picture with industrialist Pierre Levasseur (Auteuil) and his mistress, supermodel Elena (Taglioni). As Pierre dances around this indiscretion with his domineering wife, his lawyer Foix (Richard Berry) comes up with a desperate and flimsy cover, having Elena and Francois act like they’re dating for a small fee. Any regular guy would be thrilled to play house with a supermodel, but Francois’ love for Emilie means he never gets more than an accidental grope.

The plot is predictable and the scenery spectacular, and while The Valet isn’t in danger of winning any awards, it is a fine film for a summer night. Elmaleh is just the sort of sad puppy all women want to adopt, and Taglioni has that clean fresh look that reminds one of an early Cheryl Tiegs. Auteuil’s part is a bit over played, as if he’s trying to take this gentle love story and make it into a door slamming farce. Berry’s Foix is wonderfully oily, and he saves this trifle from Auteuil’s overacting.

There’s no moral beyond True Love Will Out, but the scenery is beautiful, the comedy funny enough, and the premise just this side of unbelievable.

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