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March 15, 2024 / Elevation Pictures

Starring: Zach Braff, Evelyne Brochu, Luc Picard, Antoine Olivier Pilon, Isabelle Vincent, Charlotte Aubin, Muriel Dutil, William Fichtner, Vanessa Hudgens

Directed By: Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods

Gordon, a hopeless romantic, finds his proposal plans are thrown into chaos when his girlfriend is swept away to Quebec by a job offer from her ex, a sophisticated celebrity chef. Determined to keep their love alive, Gordon leaves Brooklyn for her hometown, only to find himself hilariously out of his depth in attempting to charm her hard-to-impress, French-speaking family.

Written By Kurt Morrison

Rating 4 out of 5

A complete surprise from Elevation Pictures and CRAVE, French Girl is a fantastic hidden gem and a blast from start to finish featuring the beautiful locale and history of Quebec City while still packing some solid comedic punches throughout. Starring the always reliable and charming Zack Braff (Scrubs, Garden State), the film centers around 8th grade English teacher Gordon, who resides in Brooklyn with his beautiful French girlfriend Sophie, played by the stunning Evelyne Brochu (Rememory). Clearly very in love with each other, Sophie's blossoming career as a chef in NYC is turned upside down when she is courted by a former coworker, played by Vanessa Hudgens, to come and apply for a position as an executive chef at a new restaurant in the most illustrious hotel in Quebec City, The Chateau Frontenac.

This Quebecois showcase is a hilarious hybrid of Meet The Parents meets Canadiana, and I loved every minute of it. It knows what kind of romantic comedy it is trying to be, with Braff's lovable, bumbling nice guy put to the test as he and Sophie travel to Sophie's family farm just outside of Quebec City. The language barrier is the smallest of hurdles Gordon has to get over, and as he navigates the family compound; day by day he is put to the test by a different family member in hilarious fashion. Is there a sense of predictability to it? Yes, of course! But as with any memorable romcom, that predictability ebbs and flows in such a charming manner that you just go with it, knowing full well it is only a matter of time before Gordon proves himself to this tough French crew.

I have been a Zach Braff fan for a long time, so seeing him in anything always puts a smile on my face. But for some reason, I forgot how great  his comedic timing can be and can say Zach Braff has never been funnier for me. Seeing his patient resilience start to wither away on his darling Sophie's family estate was genius and there is a scene that is nothing but physical comedy involving an elderly family member that had me in literal tears. I miss seeing Braff as frequently as we used to, and I hope he continues to pop up in more filmfare.

Another phenomenal surprise comes from High School Musical Alum Vanessa Hudgens. Channelling her inner Miranda Priestly ala The Devil Wears Prada, except instead of the pages of fashion, she chews up the food industry scene by scene. I have never seen Hudgens play this kind of character and I LOVED IT.  The dynamic between her and Gordon's beloved Sophie is of course the point of primary conflict and watching Braff and Hudgens duel it out over Sophie's attention was magnifique. Blatantly over-the-top yet still sexy and alluring, Hudgens is truly a force in this, continuing to make an awesome career out of these kinds of RomComs yet reminding us that she is a great leading lady.

French Girl is a perfect example of 'rinse and recycle', as some of its main story beats feel so incredibly familiar yet it succeeds on every front. I adore la belle province and seeing its beauty shine on film is a wonderful treat on top of the laugh out loud comedy French Girl packs. That combo resulted in a fantastic Canadian based surprise, making French Girl one of my favourite films so far this year. Go track this one down in theatres!!

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