Essential to any good romantic comedy is the appeal – to both each other and the audience – of the two leads, and the chemistry they generate together on screen. Unfortunately, this unmistakeable and yet difficult to define x-factor is simply missing in Could This Be Love?
Lucas (Vincent Lindon) is head of a French telecommunications company hoping to win a major Chinese contract and thus solidify its position at the head of its field. He has employed an artist, Elsa (Sandrine Bonnaire), to complete a ceramic floor installation in the foyer of his offices, but when he finally meets her in person he falls instantly in love. Burnt by previous corporate espionage, he asks private investigator Roland (François Berléand) to find out if she is everything she claims.
As far as female leads go, Sandrine Bonnaire is hard to go past – she is dynamic and attractive, with expressive eyes and the confidence borne of years in the business. Her Elsa is perhaps a little too brash for her own good, but still vulnerable enough to allow someone to hurt her. Bonnaire performs this rather complicated role with skill. Alongside her, Lindon is unfortunately just not appealing enough as Lucas to encourage the audience to wish them together, perhaps mostly due to the writing which at times makes him out to be a buffoon. How a man such as this can be believed to be the energetic leader of a major company is not clear.
Hamstrung by the lack of credible chemistry between its two stars, it is hard for Could This Be Love? to recover, although the presence of Berléand is occasionally amusing. Subplots around corporate traitors, anorexic cousins and sumo wrestler ex-boyfriends miss the mark, and the comedy generally seems to rely on a succession of disasters befalling the would-be couple, generating discomfort rather than amusement. Audiences of the genre expect a certain degree of misfortune prior to the inevitable happy ending, yet here it is just too hard to care.
Writer/director Pierre Jolivet has worked with Lindon on several other films, and yet the role of Lucas remains the weakest point of this otherwise average romcom in spite of what one can assume to be a positive working relationship.Rating: