Anne Fontaine’s The Girl From Monaco starts promisingly enough, with lovely panoramas of the tiny Mediterranean country, and high-powered Parisian lawyer Bertrand Beauvois (Luchini), in town to represent the defendant in a scandalous murder trial, fending off the advances of a beautiful woman. This unlikely playboy is both enamored of and flummoxed by female attention, and while in Monaco he falls hard for vapid, sexually uninhibited weather girl Audrey (Bourgoin), who just happens to also be the ex of the stoic, ever-present bodyguard (Zem) assigned to Bertrand by his client.
Fontaine can’t seem to decide whether she’s making a dry sex farce or a slow-burn thriller, and the movie never really commits to either. The situations are too low-key to make for much in the way of comedy, and Bertrand’s puppy love for Audrey just makes him seem like a moron. Bourgoin, who looks like a sort of French Britney Spears, doesn’t give Audrey enough depth to make her either a credible femme fatale or an appealing comedic foil. Symbolic comparisons of Audrey to both Princess Diana and Monaco’s Princess Grace similarly fail to take hold.
Eventually, the movie takes a turn for the serious, but by that time there’s barely 20 minutes left, and the prospects for sun-soaked film noir are lost. The tension between Bertrand and his bodyguard, Audrey’s cloudy motives, the parallels between the central romance and the case Bertrand is trying—all are potential avenues for intrigue, but they lead almost entirely to dead ends