Film Review – Paris-Manhattan

Paris-Manhattan (M)

Directed by: Sophie Lellouche

Starring: Alice Taglioni, Patrick Bruel, Marine Delterme

Three stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Ask any film buff who their favourite director is and they will usually be able to tell you in a split second. They may even rattle off a series of names. We tend to identify with certain directors, whether due to a common theme explored in their work that appeals to us or stylistic touches that we become intrigued or fascinated with. We would love to sit down with our directorial idols and have a one on one chat with them and picks their brains, alas it rarely happens. Except for Paris-Manhattan‘s unlucky in love Alice (Alice Taglioni), who has a lifelong relationship with hers and regular discussions.

Die-hard Woody Allen fan Alice has always had an affinity for the neurotic Jewish man’s films and has a poster of the off-beat looking but genius film maker hanging on her wall. Whenever she finds herself in a spot of bother, she will have a conversation with the poster and he gives her advice. An unusual set-up for a comedy, yes, but once you get over the initial hurdle by suspending disbelief, it can be a bit of fun. In her adult years, she inherits her father’s pharmacy and as well as handing out prescription medication, she also doles out copies of her favourite director’s movies to brighten up the sick and depressed.

paris1

But once this quirky set up is established, it is quickly forgotten and we are left to experience the courtship between Alice and the charming Victor (Patrick Bruel). Alice is initially prickly, scorned by failed relationships and incompatible partners, (particularly the one who ended up marrying her sister, but like any romantic comedy, we know where this is heading. The only thing that really matters in these films is the journey, not the destination.

But the journey here takes a detour that is almost as strange as the talking poster. Alice and Victor suspect her brother-in-law is cheating on her sister so they break into the house to find clues – on the same night her parents do the same. It’s all very French farce, but this section seems out of place in the context of what has been established. This shift in focus highlights just how little can be done with the film’s unusual set up. The story is capped off with a great cameo that plays nicely into the final “will they or won’t they get together” clichĂ©, giving it shot of much-needed freshness. Unfortunately, it is too little too late for an otherwise standard romantic comedy with a hook that is not fully fleshed out.

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