Like a haute couture garment, "Chic!" is a finely crafted piece of work, a comedic romantic drama set within a frothy and sublimely funny caricature of the Parisian fashion world.
Written and directed by Jérôme Cornuau, the film stars the lovely, legendary Fanny Ardant as the eccentric, dramatic fashion designer Alicia Ricosi, whose most recent romantic foible has sent her creative imagination down the tubes and her team into a tizzy.
Her uptight gal Friday Hélène (Marina Hands) is set with the task of revivifying Alicia's male inspiration, and it comes in the unlikeliest of places: her disgruntled Breton gardener, Julien (Eric Elmosnino). Alicia becomes taken with his rustic, earthy aesthetic and decides she wants him for her muse.
Through a series of increasingly desperate gestures, Hélène manages to get Julien to agree, and the result is a sharply funny, gender-flipped parody of the artist-muse relationship. Julien finds himself a fish out of water in the over-the-top fashion world of Alicia, but simply tasked with being himself, he softens the hard shell of the precise and pin-straight Hélène.
All of the performances are spot-on, but Laurent Stocker turns in scene-stealing supporting work as the boiling-over fashion lieutenant, Alan. "Chic!" has a wonderfully brisk pace and sense of style (naturally). As light and fluffy as meringue, this sharp sendup of the pretensions of the fashion world is infused with heart and humor.
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle's Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills.