The problem with this intriguing premise of fate superceding free will is that the people in question are the middle-aged Gabor (Daniel Auteuil) and the twentysomething Adele (Vanessa Paradis). That's right, yet another in a long line of films pairing a not-so-attractive older man and a stunning younger woman more than half his age. It's really a genre unto itself, a male prerogative that has become exceedingly tiresome. In recent memory, only "Guinevere" by Audrey Wells boasts a character-driven reason for fabricating such a May-December union.
Gabor is an unlucky circus knife-thrower able to persuade the suicidal Adele, whose a taste in men invariably brings her nothing but sorrow, to refrain from jumping off a Paris bridge. Instead, she agrees to become the human target in his act during a European tour. What has she got to lose?
Although their relationship remains chaste, the knives Gabor aims so close to Adele's body are a turn-on for her, making their performances sensual in a largely slapstick fashion. And the show grows more and more risky when they realize mutual serendipity is invincible. When the twosome hits a casino, jackpots abound thanks to their powers of extra-sensory perception.
Yet love continues to elude them. So they go their separate ways, each finding only despair while alone in the world. A soundtrack lament by singer Marianne Faithfull underscores their tristesse but inevitability triumphs. Whimsically, of course. Starring Daniel Auteuil, Vanessa Paradis, Demetre Georgalas, Isabelle Petit-Jacques and Frederic Pfluger. Directed by Patrice Leconte. Written by Serge Frydman. Produced by Christian Fechner. A Paramount Classics release. Comedy/Fantasy. French-language; subtitled. Rated R for some sexuality. Running time: 92 min