The film stars Diane Kruger as Isabelle, a woman so desperate to break her family curse of first marriages always ending in disaster – that she sets off to find a short-term husband– to free herself of the spell before marrying her one true love, Pierre (Robert Plagnol). Initially, she flies to Denmark, where it’s legal to get divorced instantly after a wedding, as she intends on paying somebody to marry and divorce her in a day. However after she gets stood up, she sets her sights on the calamitous travel writer Jean-Yves (Dany Boon), though what she hadn’t accounted for in this debacle, is that by luring him into a false romance, there’s a chance he may not be so willing to give it up.
A Perfect Plan is, as you can probably already tell, completely nonsensical and inane. Though that shouldn’t spell disaster – Heartbreaker was equally as surrealistic and absurd, and yet remained so engaging and charming, that you were willing to suspend your disbelief and go along for the ride regardless. In this instance, as soon as protagonists come face to face with a lion in Kenya, Chaumeil loses you. It’s just too much – and too far removed from the intimacy that is required to fully invest in this romantic narrative.
It’s just so ridiculous, on so many levels, with a host of plot holes that will grate on you and frustrate you tremendously. Isabelle’s entire journey is so contrived and you don’t adhere to it at all. The lengths she goes to for this bizarre idea is of course just a bit of fun (this is cinema, after all), but it’s difficult to see past the fact she’s being an idiot. Who flies to Kenya just to lure some poor sod into marrying you, to dispel some stupid myth? It’s too forced and difficult to believe in, as you sit there desperately wanting to shout out a host of far more pragmatic ideas that could have prevented this entire situation from escalating in the way that it has.
Meanwhile, Kruger – trying her hand at comedy for the first time, is criminally underused – which is quite a feat for a leading character. Yet Isabelle is such a flat and bland creation, somehow managing to appear in almost every single scene and yet leave you feeling as though you know nothing about her at all. That’s not a criticism of the actor, Kruger is commendable, but the character is not fleshed out nearly enough. When we do explore her personality, however, we don’t actually like what we see. As our entry point she needs to have an empathetic nature, to allow for us to relate to the role – yet she’s vindictive, absent-minded and incredibly selfish. You get the impression we’re supposed to laugh and rejoice in her quirky antics and heavily flawed plan, and yet all she’s actually doing is ruining some stranger’s life for her own, superficial sake. It’s not easy to attach yourself to a role like that.
All that being said, there is a farcical, whimsical edge that compliments this picture well, and something brilliantly – and lovingly – predictable about the irony of the title. As soon as you settle down into your seat to watch a film entitled A Perfect Plan, you know fully well that whatever plan is concocted, it’ll be far from perfect. The problem is, it’s a notion that is somewhat indicative of the entire production.