I’m no fan of Woody Allen or his movies, but I’d guess that even some Woody Allen fans could consider any woman who takes advice from his movies very troubled, particularly if that woman is hot. Such is the case of the 2012 French movie “Paris-Manhattan.” The movie will open up on 3 May 2013 at the Pasadena Laemmle Playhouse 7.
There’s very little Manhattan here except for the presence of Woody Allen whose voice we hear giving advice to our protagonist Alice (Alice Taglioni)–taking a cue from Allen’s “Play It Again, Sam.” The first words we hear are his, “It’s over. I’m face to face with eternity.” The lines are not from Woody Allen’s 1979 comedy, “Manhattan.” It’s actually from Allen’s 1986 movie “Hannah and Her Sisters.”
In the movie, Hannah (Mia Farrow) is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner with her husband Eliot (Michael Caine). Hannah doesn’t know, but Elliot is having an affair with her sister, Lee (Barbara Hershey). Here, Allen plays Mickey, Hannah’s ex-husband who suffers from hypochondria and infertility. He eventually marries one of Hannah’s sisters.
Yet when Alice in the French movie “Paris-Manhattan” ponders, “Can one be so immoral as to sleep with one’s wife’s sister? Is everything permitted?” one can’t help thinking of Allen’s own life and questionable treatment of Farrow.
Alice also wonders, ” Could this kind of immorality happen to me?” Alice is a deep thinker. She reads and tromps around in trousers. She reads while her mother and sister look for dresses in a trendy upscale boutique. Her sister chides her saying, “Mom wants you to look more feminine.”
Alice’s mother buys her a red dress and Alice grabs a top without trying it on. At a party/dance in that very same red dress, Alice mopes in front to the keyboard looking glum. Her sister is chatting up two boys.
Alice meets an engineer, Pierre (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), who loves jazz and Cole Porter just like Alice. Alice perks up, but then her sister , Helene (Marine Delterme), comes along and it’s true love, but not between Alice and the engineer who becomes her brother-in-law, but never her lover.
Alice grows up, becomes a pharmacist, dispenses advice by giving out prescriptions of movie DVDs. She continues to take advice from Woody Allen in her head and yet can’t find true love although she’s become better at dressing herself and has become a matchmaking project for her sister. Her sister already had a teenaged daughter, Laura (Margaux Chatelier), who has a boyfriend named Achilles.
Alice is matched up with the handsome Vincent (Yannick Soulier), but he has one problem: He’s married. Then there’s Victor (Patrick Bruel) who is older, not as sophisticated as Vincent. You know that Alice will find love and she will find it through Woody Allen.
This is a fluffy little piece that asks you to suspend your believe that a blonde, thin and attractive French woman would have problems finding love and sex in France and needs the advice of a balding Jewish New Yorker whose current marriage forced his previous love alliance to break up badly and his own biological son by that relationship doesn’t speak to him at all as a result. Basically, one must ignore the Mia Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn dilemma–erase it from your memory, to go along with this film. This homage to Woody Allen isn’t particularly clever and Alice is a blindly approving fan. She has no critical depth because surely even Woody Allen fans can find fault in some of his movies.
Director/writer Sophie Lellouche has given us a piece that shows us the beauty of Paris and a romance which is more comfy than compelling. In French and English with English subtitles. The movie will open up on 3 May 2013 at the Pasadena Laemmle Playhouse 7, Music Hall and Town Center.