"Romantic Comedy More About Food than Plot"
In PARIS CAN WAIT, a married woman takes a road trip to Paris with her husband’s business associate, but what should have been a seven-hour drive turns into a two-day adventure. The French scenery provides for a beautifully shot movie, but PARIS CAN WAIT comes across as a travel and food advertisement for France more than anything else. The married woman maintains her marital fidelity to her husband, but PARIS CAN WAIT otherwise contains brief foul language and other innuendo requiring caution.
The movie opens at the Cannes Film Festival where Anne, the wife of big-shot Hollywood producer, Michael, has breakfast on her expensive hotel balcony overlooking the French Riviera. Her husband, always on his cell phone, barks orders to a another producer on location in Budapest, who’s having trouble with the director of their upcoming movie.
Convinced he has to go there himself to make sure things are running smoothly, Michael lets Anne know that they’re going to Hungary for a few days instead of heading directly back to Paris. Eager to get away from the Hollywood lifestyle for a while, Anne uses an earache as an excuse for not being able to go to Budapest.
Michael is disappointed his wife won’t be with him, but his cell phone soon distracts him. Jacques, a French producer and business associate of Michael’s, who drove them to the airport, insists on driving Anne to Paris himself, saving her a train trip. Both Anne and Michael are reluctant to accept his offer, Michael because he knows what a flirt Jacques is, and Anne because she barely knows Jacques.
However, they can think of no good reason why Anne should pass up a free ride. So, Anne and Jacques are soon off in his 20-year-old convertible. It’s quickly apparent that Jacques isn’t the best driver in the world, and that he’s in no hurry to get to Paris.
Though they should have been in Paris by the end of the day, they only make it a short distance from Cannes. Jacques requires a cigarette break every hour, and anytime a sightseeing opportunity presents itself through the French countryside, Jacques takes advantage of it.
Anne is clearly frustrated by the constant stops, but she’s simultaneously mesmerized by the beautiful scenery, including an ancient Roman aqueduct, a museum, a lake, and a cathedral. Jacques further wins her over with his impressive knowledge of food and wine, as he trots out the works for her at each meal, even improvising with wild plants when they get stuck on the side of the road.
Throughout it all, Anne has been snapping detailed photographs of their journey with her camera, which makes an occasional shy appearance. She’s a good photographer and has an entire catalogue of photos she’s taken but never shared. Jacques discovers her hidden talent and encourages her to make prints for others to see.
For some reason, Anne is reluctant to pursue her hobby, as if it might interfere with her marriage or compete in some way with her husband’s career. Jacques can’t understand her hesitation about her photography or toward him. “French give into their passions,” he suggests to her over dinner one evening.
When they arrive in Paris, Jacques takes his flirting to another level, forcing Anne to choose between him and her husband.
PARIS CAN WAIT takes full advantage of the French scenery and creates a beautifully shot movie. It becomes a tour of France in some ways, introducing Anne (and the viewers) to the country’s hidden gems. However, it almost puts more emphasis on the sights, food and wine than it does on the movie’s story and plot. Every other scene is a showcase for a new restaurant or homemade dish, as Jacques drones on excessively about the food. It comes close to being a really long episode of a travel show for the Food Network. The characters don’t get much development, which is especially frustrating since Anne has so much potential for a bigger character arc. If the filmmakers had spent more time developing Anne into a more substantive character, and less time on the escargot, the movie would have been much more impactful.
That said, Anne does learn to “stop and smell the roses.” Also, Jacques inspires her to spice things up again in her marriage.
PARIS CAN WAIT seems like the kind of movie that might go off the rails morally with two unmarried adults sharing a flirtatious road trip together, and staying in the same hotel overnight. However, it does a good job of keeping to a moral standard, even if Jacques has his own ideas about what that is. The movie hints that Anne is a Catholic. Thus, she’s reluctant to cheat on her husband, even if he doesn’t pay as much attention to their marriage as she’d like. There is an implied sex scene between Jacques and an old flame as they pass through a small town, and a small amount of foul language. One scene shows dead animals at a food market, which might be briefly disturbing for some viewers, especially younger ones. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children and young teenagers.
(C, B, L, V, S, A, D, M) Light Christian, moral worldview where Catholic female protagonist’s morals are tested throughout the movie, but she chooses to do the right thing in the end, plus one scene features a Catholic church, and a character lighting a candle at an altar below a depiction of Mary; five obscenities and three profanities; one scene shows dead animals at a food market; man tries to seduce married woman, but she maintains her fidelity, though he has a rendezvous with an old flame; no nudity; several scenes depict drinking wine over meals; a few scenes show cigarette smoking; and, some jealousy, and married woman feigns an earache to avoid a trip that she doesn’t want to take.
In PARIS CAN WAIT, Michael, a movie producer, and his wife, Anne, are about to leave the Cannes Film Festival. Michael must head to Budapest for a few days to monitor one of his movies being filmed there. Anne is tired of the Hollywood lifestyle and wants to head home for Paris. Reluctantly, she takes a ride with Michael’s business associate, Jacques. What was supposed to take a few hours ends up taking two days. Jacques stops every chance he gets to give Anne a personalized tour of France. Anne is mesmerized by the sights, but must keep up her guard against Jacques’ flirtations.
PARIS CAN WAIT takes full advantage of the French scenery and creates a beautifully shot movie. It becomes a tour of France, introducing Anne (and viewers) to the country’s hidden gems. However, it almost puts more emphasis on the sights, food and wine than it does on the movie’s story and plot. Anne is a Catholic and maintains her marital fidelity to her husband, but PARIS CAN WAIT otherwise contains brief foul language and other innuendo requiring caution.