Thousands of euros in debt, con artist Andre (Jamel Debbouze) prevents beautiful blonde Angela (Rie Rasmussen) from killing herself, so she agrees to help him earn the dough he needs to save his thumbs. As it turns out, she's literally an angel, looking for nothing in return as she spreads her legs, not her wings, to acquire the cash.
Big question: Can writer-director Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element") craft this black-and-white male fantasy into an exciting love story?
Skip it: This is the most far-fetched romantic pair since dopey David Spade landed French bombshell Sophie Marceau in "Lost and Found," and every client of a gorgeous heaven-sent problem-solver would probably fall in love with her eventually. Andre's not so special, and, despite some nifty visual elements, neither is "Angel-A."
Catch it: If you're looking for a crime-free vacation destination. France is apparently so safe that a totally drunk Andre can leave thousands in cash on the bar without anyone trying to steal his money!
Bottom line: If anything, Angela teaches this criminal that he can have his cake and make out with it too, not how to clean up his act. But Besson wants viewers to walk away with a lesson, and to call "Angel-A" unconvincing would be an Eiffel Tower-sized understatement.
Bonus: Embarrassed that you never learned to swim? So is Andre, but he shows that if you have the opportunity to wrap your arms around a sexy, drowning babe, suddenly you can swim like a fish!
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
Directed, produced and written by Luc Besson; photographed by Thierry Arbogast; edited by Frederic Thoraval; music by Anja Garbarek; production design by Jacques Bufnoir. In French, with English subtitles. A Sony Pictures Classics release; opens Friday at AMC Piper's Alley and CineArts 6 in Evanston. Running time: 1:31. MPAA rating: R (for language and some sexual content).
Andre - Jamel Debbouze
Angela - Rie Rasmussen
Franck - Gilbert Melki
Pedro - Serge Riaboukine
Chef Des Malfrats - Akim Chir (dit Colour)