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Paris Can Wait 

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Streaming

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Eleanor Coppola directs her first feature film Paris Can Wait, a romantic comedy about Anne (Diane Lane), the wife of a successful movie producer (Alec Baldwin). The movie follows her spur-of-the-moment road trip from Cannes to Paris with her husband's business associate Jacques (Arnaud Viard). What would normally be just a seven-hour drive turns into a multiple day endeavor with Jacques, Anne's chaperone through a tantalizing tour of Provence. While Anne pushes to reach their destination of Paris in a timely manner, her French counterpart takes his time showing her how to enjoy life the "French" way.

If you're looking for a riveting tale of forbidden love set against a backdrop of some of France's most iconic cities, this is not that movie.

The film opens to a balcony scene with Anne leaning against the railing. She snaps close-up detailed photographs of a handsome breakfast spread while the stern voice of her husband talking on the phone punctuates the air. The next morning as Anne and her husband Michael (Baldwin) prepare to fly to Budapest for a business trip, Anne instead decides to hop in a car with Jacques, where they will later meet up with Michael in Paris.

The close quarters and long hours of driving in the car juxtapose American and French cultures side by side—while Anne is ready to hunker down for the car ride, Jacques takes frequent pit stops to smoke, fill up the radiator and indulge in delicious multi-course meals.

While the references to iconic staples of French culture—Chateauneuf-du-pape, saucisson, and blooming purple fields of lavender—make this film a visual treat for Francophiles, the dialogue of the movie felt forced and unnatural. It was difficult to take the movie seriously as the scenes jumped from gorgeous shots of the Provencal countryside to the awkward interactions between an unhappily married woman and a sleazy French businessman.

Although the film is shot in English, there are snippets of dialogue through the movie that are versed entirely in French without any translation or subtitles. For the non-French speaker, Coppola's attempt at making the movie more authentic comes off as pretentious and annoying. On the last leg of the trip, Anne looks pensively outside the window while playing music from Phoenix, a French rock band that her daughter suggested. At this point in the film, it seems like Coppola is trying to fill in as many squares on her bingo card of French culture references, bloating the film and lending it to be less than elegant and somewhat snobbish. And the plot line with Anne and Jacques is all too predictable.

Overall, Paris Can Wait's attempt at crafting a romantic comedy set in the dreamy French countryside flops rather disappointingly. The visual treats and beautiful views of France were the only redeeming qualities of the movie, if you ignored precisely everything else. (92 min.)

Kristine Xu


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