Paris Can Wait (2016)

 

Cast includes: Diane Lane (Unfaithful), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Arnaud Viard (Arnaud fait son 2e film)
Writer/Director: Eleanor Coppola (Heart of Darkness, Coda: Thirty Years Later)
Genre: Comedy | Light Drama | Romance (92 minutes)

 

Huffington Post

“She understands,” says Michael on the phone while his wife, Anne, is on the balcony enjoying breakfast alone and snapping photos. The scene is a lovely hotel room in Cannes. “Overseas production is a bitch… a wasteful extravagance,” Michael tells Anne, making excuses for messing up another vacation. Michael is a film producer, and he now has to deal with an emergency situation in Morocco. His business partner Jacques drives the couple to the airport, while Anne’s earache seems to be getting worse. Jacque’s prescription… Anne shouldn’t fly anywhere but should ride instead with him “directly to Paris.” She doesn’t know Jacque well but thinks it’s not a good idea. “I don’t bite,” he assures her. So Anne says goodbye to Michael, takes one last photo of him, and it’s off to Paris with Jacque in his old Peugeot convertible… and given how enthusiastically Jacque drives, it’s a wonder the car has lasted this long.

It soon becomes apparent that Jacque’s idea of “directly to Paris” means stopping at all his favorite restaurants and scenic destinations. “It’s all about the timing… like a soufflé.” It’s truffle season and they’re in Cezanne country… looks like they need to stop for the night. “May I use your credit card to hold the room?” What can she say? “I’ll reimburse you when we get to Paris,” he says… “Let’s pretend we don’t know where we’re going or even who we are.” This clearly isn’t the trip she had signed on for. There are the gas station stops every hour, the 2000-year-old aqueduct they have to see… and of course, food, food and more food. Anne isn’t that comfortable with Jacque. While it’s true, he “doesn’t bite,” he keeps her feeling… well, unsure of her feelings. When Anne phones Michael to let him know about the stopover, he warns her… “Jacque can be very charming, and he’s a flirt. French men have no scruples when it comes to married women.”

Every time Jacque introduces Anne to something wonderful, there’s also an element that just doesn’t sit right. But never mind… Paris Can Wait is a journey with glorious scenery, a bit of history, and of course, a wonderful appreciation for French food and wine. There’s great onscreen chemistry between the two main characters, as Jacques is just being himself while Anne constantly has to readjust her viewpoint. The off-camera presence of Michael seems to be going through some readjustment, too. In Cannes, he barely thought about Anne. But knowing that she’s on a road trip with a charming French man, he begins to see Anne through different eyes. Director Eleanor Coppola (wife of Frances Ford Coppola) does an excellent job of keeping the emotional center hovering between yes, no and maybe. Timing, it turns out, is everything. Michael now wants to get to Paris as soon as possible. Jacque is in no hurry. Anne thinks she wants to go “directly to Paris”… or maybe not. When she finds herself unexpectedly jealous of one of Jacque’s lovers, she starts thinking maybe it’s time to stop letting life pass her by. “You’ll never forget your travels with Jacque.” The whole time, we wonder… will this unexpected journey be a detour or a change in destination?


popcorn rating

3 popped kernels

A glorious road trip through France with a focus on food and changing viewpoints

Popcorn Profile

Rated: PG
Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Style: Sensitive
Distribution: Mainstream Limited Release
Mood: Upbeat
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely Varnished Realism
Nutshell: French road trip
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure Entertainment

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