Paris Can Wait
Doing what she can to be known as more than Francis’ wife or Sofia’s and Roman’s mother, documentarian Eleanor Coppola makes her narrative feature debut with Paris Can Wait, a gorgeous, well-shot film worth seeing on the big screen — at least for its visuals assets.
Little more than tourist porn, the story of newly retired L.A. dress shop owner Anne (Diane Lane) driving from Cannes to the French capital with Jacques (Arnaud Viard), a business partner of her workaholic film producer husband Michael (Alec Baldwin), is rich in sightseeing and food photography yet poor in meaningful content.
Sleepwalking through life now that her career is wrapped up and her daughter is in college, Anne is in need of direction, but neither the lazy set-up of Michael’s career-first ways not the “will they, won’t they” tension of her adventures with Jacques provide reason to care about her next move.
In the excessive number of detours on the road to their destination, Coppola tosses in the occasional filmmaking flair — notably pleasant cuts to famous paintings after Jacques mentions them in relation to current affairs — though more often than not she’s content with vapid conversation as an excuse to feature fine French dining.
With minimal narrative fortification of the cuisine and other cultural experiences along the way, the characters’ enjoyment of dishes, art and nature soon grows tiresome — but at least they’re having a good time, doing their part for the French tourism industry and enticing viewers to copy their route.
Grade: C-plus. Rated PG. Starts June 16 at the Fine Arts Theatre
(Photo: Sony Pictures Classics)