Angel-A

Film
2 out of 5 stars
BLONDED BY THE LIGHT Rasmussen, left, is heaven sent.
BLONDED BY THE LIGHT Rasmussen, left, is heaven sent.

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Rie Rasmussen is the kind of tall, leggy model that often appears in Luc Besson movies. (The director used to have a thing for Milla Jovovich.) You may not think you’ve seen her—unless you’ve watched Femme Fatale and observed her slinking around in a diamond-encrusted bra, more of a necklace, in which case you’ve seen a lot of her. Here, given the chance to actually act, Rasmussen quickly fades into the background: another beautiful object in Besson’s busy, hollow Paris. Like Amlie, Angel-A turns the city into a vaguely computerized machine, shot in chilly b&w to no real dramatic effect except to unintentionally remind you of the far-superior Wings of Desire.

Like that angel intervention, Besson’s film (his first after a six-year break) has Rasmussen sent from above to assist scruffy, pint-size motormouth Andr (comedian Debbouze) in learning key lessons about self-confidence and paying off gangsters. Has there ever been a more nakedly desperate device than the schmuck blessed with the impossibly cute girlfriend? Both actors strain through lengthy scenes of wisecrackery—that is, when Besson isn’t trying to score lame visual jokes about their height difference. The director has never been an artist of depth or significance; now for the first time, he seems old. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.)—Joshua Rothkopf

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