Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Gourmet food, luscious locations and Diane Lane in Eleanor Coppola's PARIS CAN WAIT

If you're a sucker for movies that offer reams of food-and-travel porn or a fan of that intelligent and beautiful actress Diane Lane (on poster, left), then PARIS CAN WAIT, the new film by Eleanor Coppola (her first full-length narrative work, and yes, she's the wife of a certain Francis Ford), will most likely be your cup of (lukewarm) tea. The movie, set in the French countryside, is often gorgeous to view, the many meals look succulent indeed, and Ms Lane comes through like the trouper she has long proven to be.

Ms Coppola (shown at right), who both wrote and directed this trifle of a movie, sets her heroine, Anne, up with a hubby -- the under-used Alec Baldwin (below, left), who mostly ignores her, her career and her interests to focus on his own -- and that hubby's business associate, Jacques, played by Arnaud Viard, who promises to deliver Anne via automobile to the couple's digs in Paris. But Jacques has his own agenda, which involves stopping at every important tourist site, fabulous inn and swank hotel along the way, dining and drinking like there was no tomorrow, and, yes, allowing a certain "attraction" to bloom.

Bloom, it does, and before you can say, "Where have I seen this movie, maybe 20 times before, but usually done with a lot more subtlety?", 92 pleasant, pretty minutes have past and the film has finished. M. Viard, below, whose career so far has been in French film and TV that has not, for the most part, reached our shores, makes a perfectly appropriate tour guide and would-be lover. I do wish the distributor has seen fit to grace our critic's screening link with English subtitles, however, because TrustMovies missed about one-third of Viard's very heavily-accented English dialog.

Ms Lane, as ever, is the consummate actress. Beautiful enough to consistently hold our gaze, she also brings whip-smart intelligence and nicely buried feeling to so many of the moments here that she almost convinces us that any of this really matters.

Ms Coppola has constructed her tale in a fashion that is not remotely believable (if the goal were actually getting to Paris and not making a movie about travel and food), but she has written her screenplay/dialog with a bit of occasional zing and then directed the proceedings well enough to keep us watching.

How you will react to the last-minute breaking of the fourth wall so that Ms Lane can let us know that all this has just been playful naughtiness will depend, I think, on your tolerance for the cutesy. Bon appétit!

From Sony Pictures Classics, after opening two weeks ago in New York and Los Angeles, and elsewhere the following week, Paris Can Wait hits South Florida this Friday, May 26, in Miami at the CMX Brickell City Center and the Tower Theater. Click here and then click on GET TICKETS to view all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters around the country.

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