|Directed by||Pierre Salvadori|
|Produced by||Philippe Martin|
|Written by||Pierre Salvadori
|Music by||Camille Bazbaz|
|Edited by||Isabelle Devinck|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||November 18, 2006 (France)|
|Running time||104 min.|
Priceless (French: Hors de prix) is a 2006 French film directed by Pierre Salvadori, and starring Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh. According to the director, the film is inspired by the 1961 Blake Edwards film, Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Jean (Gad Elmaleh), a waiter/barman at a luxury hotel, is mistaken to be a millionaire by Irène (Audrey Tautou), a gold digger who convinces wealthy men to fund her lavish lifestyle in exchange for companionship and sex. Irène's elderly lover gets drunk and falls asleep on her birthday, so she goes to the bar in the hotel where she and Jean meet. After making her an impressive cocktail, actually several, they retire, tipsy, to the hotel's Imperial suite where they spend the night together. In the morning Jean awakens to find Irène has gone.
A year later Irène returns to the hotel with Jacques, who asks her to marry him. Irène is surprised to see Jean, as he just manages to conceal his occupation, and later that night Jean and Irène sleep together again, but Jacques sees them and breaks off the engagement. Irène goes to Jean pretending she gave up Jacques to be with him, but as they lie in bed together, they are discovered by guests and staff in the Imperial suite. When Irène discovers who Jean really is, she walks out. However, Jean is now in love and follows her, finding her at Côte d'Azur. Pursuing her, he spends all the money to his name to pay for her presence, including his savings and pension plan, until he uses his final euro for "10 more seconds".
As she leaves him for another rich man and he is left with a hotel bill he can't pay, he is serendipitously picked up by a wealthy widow and assumes the lifestyle of the one he pursues. Irène finds out and is a little jealous, but now that they are "equals", she teaches Jean the tricks of gold-digging and he soon wheedles a €30,000 watch from his wealthy sponsor Madeleine, because he sulked after she forced him to have plastic surgery on his ear. On a shopping spree, Irène meets up with Jean and coyly offers him the euro for "10 more seconds".
Throughout, Jean's heart is not in this endeavor, doing it only to survive and be near Irène, whereas Irène seems to be 'hard core' into the lifestyle, though there are increasing moments where she seems to really be falling for Jean too.
Playing hard to get, Jean continues to prove himself a skillful gold digger when Madeleine later gives him a scooter. Jean and Irène steal away from their sponsors at every chance they get, getting designer clothes and fancy food, until, on the morning of Irene's departure to Venice with her latest lover Gilles, he catches Irène and Jean kissing on the hotel room balcony.
Furious, Gilles leaves Irene with nothing but a sarong and the swim suit she is wearing. Jean sells his watch to buy Irène a week's stay in their hotel and a gorgeous evening gown. He also gives her an invitation to a party which they both attend. Jean's patron Madeleine is at first upset with Jean for selling his watch, but calms down and is pleased when Jean gives her a beautiful pair of earrings he had also bought with the money.
At the party that evening, Irène sees Jacques again, but with a new young girlfriend, Agnès. Whilst stealing a dance with Jean, Irène hatches a plan to win Jacques back again, with Jean's assistance. Jean, willing to do anything for Irène, plays along. Even though Madeleine dumps Jean, he pretends to be a wealthy prince and seduces Agnès, taking her up to his room across from where Irène is sitting talking to Jacques. However, when Irène sees Jean with Agnès on the balcony she realizes she loves Jean. She runs away from Jacques to Jean's room, abandoning her last chance with Jacques and a glamorous lifestyle, and declares her feelings for Jean. The movie ends with barefoot Irène and Jean riding off to Italy on his scooter, using the euro coin for the toll fee.
- Audrey Tautou — Irène Mercier
- Gad Elmaleh — Jean Simon
- Marie-Christine Adam — Madeleine
- Vernon Dobtcheff — Jacques
- Jacques Spiesser — Gilles
- Annelise Hesme — Agnès
Anglosphere critics gave the film strong positive reviews (). As of May 1, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 82% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 45 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 72 out of 100, based on 20 reviews.
After its March 2008 premiere in the United States, Stephen Holden called the film an "amusing ball of fluff that refuses to judge its characters’ amoral high jinks"; he calls it a "shrewdly cast" film "winking at the vanity of wealthy voluptuaries and hustlers playing games of tainted love." According to Holden, the film is "too frivolous even to be called satire." According to Mick LaSalle, what makes the film "fun" is "the harshness wrapped in a pretty package. The movie stars Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh, who are about the only French stars that it's almost impossible to imagine having an active sex life. Their aura of innocence helps. Still, in America, no director could ever make this movie, even with the most innocent-seeming actors on the planet. This is way European, folks, not meant for our eyes, and, of course, that's the whole kick." LaSalle notes the following:
"Priceless is an entertaining sex farce that takes its characters to some of best hotels and most exclusive restaurants in France, and to watch it is to marvel at how some people live - and how you don't. But here's the interesting thing: Through this seduction, Priceless turns the viewer into a harlot, too, who can suddenly understand why Irene would do anything and sleep with anybody just to stay in this lifestyle. Likewise, we understand—instinctively, without thinking about it or judging it—why Jean might start sleeping with an older rich woman, just so he can stay in the hotels where Irene stays. Would you want to be the person who orders the drinks or fetches the drinks? How easy would it be to go back to normal life after confirming what you never really wanted to know, that the rich really do have it better, as in a lot better, as in money really does buy happiness? So Priceless is silly, but it's not so silly. It's pretty to look at, often very funny, but it corrupts its audience as it corrupts its characters."
In a one-star review () upon the film's June 2008 release in the United Kingdom, Peter Bradshaw call the film a "gruesomely unfunny and tacky comedy-farce" and notes "the whole movie slavers over bling, and has a nasty, dated air of pseudo-worldliness and ersatz sophistication. With its luxury-tourist locations, it is basically vulgar, and not in a good way, and reminded me of the opening title sequence to the 70s TV show The Persuaders!, but without that programme's charm."
- Priceless at Box Office Mojo Retrieved on 2012-07-09.
- Beifuss, John. "Film review: Tautou makes 'Priceless' worth cost of admission". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
- "Priceless Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- "Priceless (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
- Holden, Stephen (March 28, 2008). "Cherchez le Sugar Daddy (et Sugar Mom)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
- LaSalle, Mick (April 4, 2008). "Review: Tautou is gold digger in Priceless". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
- Bradshaw, Peter (12 June 2008). "Priceless". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-07-09.