Travel and romance in Europe and not especially memorable story telling.
Paris Can Wait
Director: Eleanor Coppola (Hearts of Darkness)
Cast: Diane Lane (Batman vs. Superman), Alec Baldwin (Rules Don’t Apply)
Runtime: 92 min
by John DeSando
Anne (Diane Lane) in 2015 travels from Cannes to Paris with her producer husband’s (Michael, played by Alec Baldwin) roué associate, Jacques (Arnaud Viard). The screen, filled with food and wine by director Eleanor Coppola, who should know something about filmmaking and wine, is a feast of expensive living and the subtle art of seduction.
Anne is happily married, but a stereotypical Frenchman is by nature a playboy disregarding the dictates of society for his own gratification. Although the bulk of the film is Jacques lecturing about wine and food at the many stops they make, he is really attempting to break down her fidelity barrier. For her own part Anne is determined to preserve the sanctity of her marriage.
Without a detour into infidelity, the film lacks robust action and dialogue. After a while, Jacques becomes boring, so self-centered and annoyingly determined to win her over.
Of course, the cinematography of the countryside and the food is first-rate. Viard is excellent at playing a randy adult, and Lane, with a role underwritten, is beautiful and nuanced when the script allows. Otherwise, she is asking questions and learning from his lectures. That she lost an infant to a birth defect is not enough to make me think she registers any emotion other than longing for her husband and wondering if this traveling companion is worth tossing out a good marriage (at least I think so because the script gives few clues to the workings of her heart).
Jacques tells her, “Guilt is bad for your digestion.” I’m feeling guilty for watching this cute travelogue that makes me dyspeptic, notwithstanding the food and wine.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com