An attractive woman is caught between two men, zzzz

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Paris Can Wait
RPL Film Theatre

July 20–23

After years of working on documentaries about her husband’s films, Eleanor Coppola finally takes the plunge. Paris Can Wait is the 81-year-old’s feature debut, and I wish I could tell you it’s a revelation.

I can’t. Paris Can Wait is terrible.

Mid-life crisis specialist Diane Lane (Under the Tuscan Sun, Unfaithful) plays Anne, the aging trophy wife of a hotshot Hollywood producer (Alec Baldwin playing a cliché). Unable to fly (earache), Anne must hitch a ride with her husband’s French business partner, Jacques (Arnaud Viald, channeling Pepe Le Pew).

Even though driving from Cannes to Paris shouldn’t take more than eight hours, for Anne it becomes a two-day journey on a clunky Peugeot. Jacques stops at every mildly interesting place along the way and clearly has naughty designs on Anne, who’s feeling abandoned and vulnerable. She’s not indifferent to the Frenchman’s attention but remains cool. Cue 90 minutes of will-they-won’t they.

Besides the incredibly flat characters, Paris Can Wait is shockingly uneventful. Unlike other life-changing travelogues such as Eat Pray Love (itself a problematic movie), all Paris Can Wait has are overused platitudes: enjoy the day; have another glass of wine; it’s not trespassing if you don’t get caught.

The sole survivor of this cinematic train wreck is Lane, a great actor who stays authentic and relatable in spite of being surrounded by caricatures. There are also some nice panoramas from the south of France and some pretty good food porn, but ultimately it’s as fascinating as someone else’s vacation pics. Too bad. ❧