Paris-Manhattan is the latest Woody Allen film following hot on the heels of To Rome With Love. Except that this isn’t, in fact, a Woody Allen film. It’s penned and directed and by up-and-coming French auteur, Sophie Lellouche.
Confused? Well, the basic premise involves a similarly neurotic pharmacist Alice (played by the gorgeous Alice Taglioni) who is obsessed with Manhattan’s finest after discovering his oeuvre during her teen years. She keeps a poster of Allen on her bedroom wall and has imagined conversations with him, lifting wholesale a plethora of his wisecracking quotes from some of his best movies, as he doles out advice for her love-avoidance tactics.
A whimsical romance in the vein of Allen’s recent Midnight in Paris, this is nowhere near as accomplished as the man it aspires to, but there is a lot of fun to be had here nonetheless.
Surrounded by her quite frankly barmy family, who think nothing of breaking into each other’s homes to find evidence of a presumed affair, Alice has plenty of fun along the way. It’s a kooky affair from start to end, if indeed a little over played.
Handsome Patrick Bruel is the romantic foil, Victor even if Alice is decidedly unwilling. The fact that he installs burglar alarms for a living is a rather unsubtle hint at how hard he has to work to crack Alice’s heart. You get the distinct impression she’d rather hold out for Allen himself.
The great filmmaker does make an inspired cameo late in the day, and it’s a joy to behold. He may be older, but that wicked glint in his mischievous eye is as bright as ever it was, and there’s a great deal of sentimental warmth that pays of fin the end.
Beautifully shot and scored, there are plenty of chuckles, even if the story never fully gels into something more than a bit of light, fluffy fun, but when you have the delightful Paris as your backdrop, sometimes that’s all you need.
Stephen A Russell