Paris Can Wait – movie review

by James Robins / 08 August, 2017

Anne (Diane Lane) goes on an escapist roadtrip from Cannes to Paris with a Gallic Galahad.

Diane Lane’s culinary tour de France feels badly undercooked.

Anne (Diane Lane) is unhappily married to a big-shot, cream-suited Hollywood movie producer (Alec Baldwin). Even when she’s in a Cannes hotel with a luxurious view of the azure sea, as she is at the start of the film, she’s still miffed.

What she really needs, as it turns out, is a grinning, paunchy Frenchman named Jacques (Arnaud Viard) to offer her dijon mustard, fresh strawberries and, in case the innuendo wasn’t clear enough, a package of aged pork sausage.

An escapist roadtrip from Cannes to Paris with this Gallic Galahad ensues, fuelled by rich meals and richer drinks at impossibly glamorous restaurants. It’s a horrible journey from start to finish, with every line read in a grating, stilted manner as if from a teleprompter. And they really do say such things as “Guilt is bad for digestion” and “Remember those delicious fava beans we had at that lovely place in Palermo?”

It has the blanched look of one of Woody Allen’s recent travelogue films (say, From Rome with Love), and I wouldn’t be surprised if France’s tourism ministry had had a surreptitious hand in its funding.

But it has no irony or jokes or even a sense that its director has made something decent before. Which is perhaps the most surprising aspect of all, because Paris Can Wait is helmed by Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford and mother to Sofia. Did neither of them let on about her whiffy cooking?

Lane’s regular radiance is defiantly dimmed, and nothing – not even an offer of French sausage – could convince me that her portly companion was anything but a lecherous opportunist.

Paris Can Wait is a sickly, boring, bourgeois indulgence – an Eat Pray Love for the tone-deaf geriatric fantasist crowd.

IN CINEMAS NOW

1/2

This article was first published in the August 5, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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