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Stars: Romain Duris, Déborah François, Bérénice Bejo, Shaun Benson, Melanie Bernier, Nicolas Bedos, Miou-Miou, Eddy Mitchell, Frederic Pierrot, Maruis Colucci

Director: Régis Roinsard

One of the things I miss the most about writing on an old-fashioned typewriter (apart from the satisfying sound of keys hitting the paper) was when things went wrong it was a genuine pleasure to tear out the offending page, crumple it up in a ball and fling it angrily across the room accompanied by well-chose swear words. Now all that is left is swearing and hitting the delete key. Not much fun.

First-time director (and co-writer with Daniel Presley and Romain Compingt) Régis Roinsard) has come up with a charming romcom that from the cheerful animated opening credits to the entirely expected happy ending brings back memories of the glossy comic love stories of the 1950s in its fairytale story of Déborah François who quits her father’s village general store to work as secretary for uptight and controlling insurance agent Romain Duris.

Francois turns out to be pretty useless at her job – but when Duris realises she types at demonic speed he trains her to take part in the regional and national speed-typing competitions endemic at the time.

And while nothing romantic or otherwise is in doubt for a single instant, getting to the expected climax is a real pleasure whose charm in cleverly potentiated by the tuneful period score. François and Duris are delightful and Bérénice Bejo (star of ‘The Artist’) and Shaun Benson as her American husband Shaun Benson (obviously eminently acceptable to the French for having participated in the Normandy Landings in World War Two) are equally well cast.

Result – a romantic farce to savour. And just pray Hollywood doesn’t get around to producing an American remake.

Alan Frank

France 2012. UK Distributor: Entertainment One UK. Colour.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 31 May 2013