×

Paris-Manhattan

Take the template of 1972's "Play It Again, Sam," replace Woody Allen with a generic French blonde with lite love troubles and Humphrey Bogart with the maxim-dispensing Woodmeister (in poster form), and voila, you have "Paris-Manhattan," in which debuting Gallic scribe-helmer Sophie Lellouche borrows Allen's moves without displaying an ounce of his talent.

With:
With: Alice Taglioni, Patrick Bruel, Marine Delterme, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Michel Aumont, Marie-Christine Adam, Yannick Soulier, Margaux Chatelier, Arsene Mosca, Gladys Cohen, Julie Martel, Roman Guisset, Woody Allen. (French, English dialogue)

Take the template of 1972’s “Play It Again, Sam,” replace Woody Allen with a generic French blonde with lite love troubles and Humphrey Bogart with the maxim-dispensing Woodmeister (in poster form), and voila, you have “Paris-Manhattan,” in which debuting Gallic scribe-helmer Sophie Lellouche borrows Allen’s moves without displaying an ounce of his talent. This update-cum-ripoff might be aiming for witty and romantic, but it’s mostly a hollow, rambling effort leavened with some stargazing. eOne picked up Stateside rights and will have to pray for a subtitled miracle.

Though directed by Herbert Ross, “Play It Again, Sam” was based on Allen’s own Broadway play and is full of his trademark witticisms, of which Lellouche is no doubt a big fan. In fact, many of them are incorporated here, as a life-sized poster of Allen hands out advice in the man’s own voice (culled from different films).

The owner of the poster is Alice (Alice Taglioni), a flaxen-haired young woman ready to take over the pharmacy business run by her Jewish-French father (Michel Aumont). Alice has no man in her life yet, and she’s not helped by her older sister, Helene (Marine Delterme), who, in a prologue set an unconvincing 10 years earlier, is shown marrying the preppy, jazz-loving Pierre (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), even though Alice saw him first.

Things start to look up when, after attending a terribly dull party full of bourgeois nitwits, Alice shares the elevator with handsome security expert, Victor (actor-singer Patrick Bruel, effortlessly charming), and then winds up conversing with the gallant man, who insists on walking her home.

If this all doesn’t feel scripted and improbable enough, Lellouche has plenty more in store, including a cringe-worthy scene in which Alice allows a criminal who held her at gunpoint to run off, but only after giving him a couple of crime-themed Allen films to watch. (Cue the scene in which the two run into each other again and he’s a changed man.) Also simultaneously befuddling and predictable is a sequence in which Victor installs a chloroform-spraying security system in Alice’s pharmacy that inevitably ends up dousing the wrong person. A subplot involving Pierre’s suspected infidelity feels extraneous and goes nowhere.

Whereas the original “Sam” worked because Bogie was a moviestar archetype that the fully rounded Allen character could never live up to, in “Paris,” the only vaguely sane and relatable person is the poster. Alice is too vaguely conceived, lacking any particular need or drive; her search for a man feels like something imposed on her from the outside, as does her reliance on advice from anyone, much less a talking picture. Taglioni, bravely sticking to her line readings, can’t breathe life into this mess of a character.

Technically, the pic looks slick but not very coherent, with occasional use of tilt-shift lenses for no apparent reason. The jazzy score and credits lettering clearly mimic Allen’s work, further inviting comparisons the pic could never live up to. An uncredited but entirely unsurprising cameo appearance by the director himself is underwritten, though it’s clear from the twinkle in Allen’s eye that he’s secretly thinking, “I’m actually in a French movie!” Too bad it’s this one.

Popular on Variety

Paris-Manhattan

France

Production: An eOne (in U.S.)/SND (in France) release of a Vendome Prod., France 2 Cinema, SND production, in association with Canal Plus, Cine Plus, France Televisions. (International sales: SND, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.) Produced by Philippe Rousselet. Directed, written by Sophie Lellouche.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Laurant Machuel; editor, Monica Coleman; music, Jean Michel Bernard; production designer, Philippe L'Eveque; costume designer, Fabienne Katany; sound (Dolby Digital), Laurent Poirier, Vincent Guillon, Stephane Thiebaut; associate producer, Etienne Comar; assistant director, Olivier Genet; casting, Gerard Moulevrier. Reviewed at Pathe Wepler, Paris, July 19, 2012. Running time: 77 MIN.

With: With: Alice Taglioni, Patrick Bruel, Marine Delterme, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Michel Aumont, Marie-Christine Adam, Yannick Soulier, Margaux Chatelier, Arsene Mosca, Gladys Cohen, Julie Martel, Roman Guisset, Woody Allen. (French, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras to Receive San Sebastian Career Achievement Donostia Award

    Costa-Gavras, the Greek-born France-based director of some of the most famed movies of political cinema, from 1969’s “Z” to 1981’s “Missing,” will receive a career achievement Donostia Award at this September’s 67th San Sebastian Film Festival. The filmmaker will collect his prize on Sept. 21 at a ceremony held at San Sebastian’s Victoria Eugenia, where [...]

  • Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), Leonard (Bill

    China Box Office: New Animations No Match For 'Nezha' Domination

    Chinese animation “Nezha” continued its run as China’s biggest hit of the summer, maintaining its top spot at the box office even 25 days into its run with a weekend gross of $41.2 million. The tally made it this weekend’s fourth highest grossing film worldwide. Meanwhile, two other new animated titles performed unremarkably. The flop of [...]

  • Samuel-W.-Gelfman

    Samuel Gelfman, Roger Corman Film Producer, Dies at 88

    Samuel Gelfman, a New York producer known for his work on Roger Corman’s “Caged Heat,” “Cockfighter” and “Cannonball!,” died Thursday morning at UCLA Hospital in Westwood following complications from heart and respiratory disease, his son Peter Gelfman confirmed. He was 88. Gelfman was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in Caldwell New Jersey [...]

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content