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A review of Luc Besson's disappointing new drama at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival

It's fitting that the French gave us the words "deja vu," as they have also given us Luc Besson's Angel-A, a film that plays like a virtual remake of Patrice Leconte's superior Girl on the Bridge. Both are scenic Parisian romances shot in black and white, and both are set in motion when a down-on-his-luck shyster (here, Jamel Debbouze) talks a leggy, suicidal beauty out of jumping off a bridge. Perhaps the French board of tourism should adopt a new slogan: Come to Paris! Meet a bipolar babe on the brink.

The babe in question in Angel-A is the blond, short-skirted Rie Rasmussen, who, talked out of suicide, decides to fix her life by mending Debbouze's. Her motives seem unclear, even if her methods (like bailing Debbouze out of his gambling debts with some strategically employed T & A) get results. Eventually, Rasmussen reveals the true reason behind her efforts to help Debbouze, and if you haven't figured it out before he does, take another look at the film's title.

Yup, what we've got here is a guardian angel, and what follows is a strange update of It's a Wonderful Life, assuming George fell in love with Clarence - though the latter surely couldn't rock high heels as well as Rasmussen, a former model. In fact, the knowledge that Rasmussen used to be part of the Victoria's Secret armada makes perfect sense, as she seems more at home when, late in the game, she finally gets to unfurl those angel wings. You can't blame Debbouze for grabbing hold of her, for trying to keep her from returning to heaven...but you also can't blame a viewer who'd prefer Leconte's version, where a woman with the face of angel has more to do than just serve her man.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Kyle Buchanan