Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Movie Review: "Paris Can Wait" (2017)

Director: Eleanor Coppola
Year: 2017
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

A film producer's wife goes on a road trip from Cannes to Paris with her husband's coworker.

"Paris Can Wait" is written and directed by Eleanor Coppola in her narrative feature film debut. Prior to this movie, she had only made documentaries, most notably "Hearts of Darkness." If her name looks familiar for a different reason, it's because she is the wife of legendary director Francis Ford Coppola. The film stars Diane Lane as Anne, who, oddly enough, is the wife of a famous filmmaker named Michael, played by Alec Baldwin. The two are in Cannes for the annual film festival, but when Michael has to make an emergency trip to Budapest to solve a crisis on one of his sets, Anne decides to go on to Paris, which was their intended destination, ahead of him. Michael's friend and business associate Jacques, played by Arnaud Viard, offers to give Anne a ride there, but winds up taking numerous detours along the way, turning what should have been an eight or so hour drive into a three day journey of sights, food, wine, and unexpected memories.

"Paris Can Wait" feels more like a video travel brochure for France than an actual film with a story. Most of the movie is spent gawking as our protagonists eat decadent food and visit lovely French tourist sites. Anne takes photos along the way, which constantly pop up on screen as if were looking at the Instagram feed of a wealthy world traveler. The entire picture almost has an elitist feel to it and is a prime example of why average people feel like celebrities and those who are wealthy are so disconnected from the plight of everyday people.

Jacques uses his knowledge of food, wine, and the Romans to try and impress his friend's wife in order to flirt with her and eventually attempt to seduce her, even though he promised himself he "wouldn't try to hold her hand." The way this character is written feels slightly smarmy, knowingly attempting to pick up on his coworker's wife because he thinks she's underappreciated in her marriage. Anne as a character is an extremely weak protagonist and is not some kind of a strong woman striving for any modicum of independence. She defines her life and her existence by her husband's job, completely subservient to his needs since everything she has ever cared about has moved on (her business partner has recently moved to London, her daughter is off at college, etc). When Anne goes on what seems like it might be a journey of self-discovery, she does so as a passenger with another man telling her where to go, what to eat, and what to drink. Her desire to drive straight to Paris is constantly overruled by his desire to woo her with lavish, grand romantic gestures (most of which he can't pay for, by the way), banal conversation, and glass upon glass of ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape. Meanwhile, we the audience are stuck in the middle seat between the two of them hoping someone will roll down the window because it's super stuffy and stiff in here.

Unfortunately, on top of all of this, Lane and Viard don't have much chemistry. As much as Coppola wants us to root for Anne to succumb to Jaques's sexual advances, we spent the movie rolling our eyes and hoping she could fend off his harassing behavior and remain faithful to her husband regardless of how flighty or busy he may be. The majority of this picture is trite, forgettable, and inoffensive. The ending, however, is so forced, fantastical, and cliche, that it hurt our overall enjoyment of the film. It took BigJ from a somewhat bored state of placation to beyond annoyed in just one contrived scene (one contrived moment in said scene, really). If you dig unrealistic romances, lifestyles of the rich and the famous, and desire a look at the vacation habits of the opulently wealthy who are bitterly out of touch and can spend over €700 on opulent and unnecessary dinner without a second thought, then "Paris Can Wait" may be for you, otherwise, you can wait a long, long, long time before you watch this one.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 3.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 49%
Do we recommend this movie: No.


  1. Man I was looking forward to this one, I was planning on seeing it today not anymore thanks guys
    ~Your Son Kevin

    1. Sorry to disappoint you, son. You'd be better off watching something like "Before Sunset" again.

  2. At least Baby Driver on Friday