The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (23)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (10)
| Rotten (13)
By itself, this would just be one of those workmanlike relationship films the French turn out by the yard; but all the Allen stuff throws its mediocrity into sharp relief.
Siphons off bits of "Play It Again, Sam," "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Manhattan Murder Mystery" in its underwhelming tale of a thirtysomething Parisian's search for Mr. Right.
One supposes that if, by some unlikely convergence of circumstance, the mind that came up with this premise could also invest it with wit, the result would have seemed like genius. It does not.
The premise of Paris-Manhattan is simple enough; unfortunately, so is everything else about writer-director Sophie Lellouche's debut feature film.
"Paris Manhattan" uses a character with a Woody Allen obsession as an excuse to pilfer words and ideas far beyond its ability to synthesize them.
Lellouche, in making her homage to Allen, left out one of his essential qualities: bite. "Paris-Manhattan" drifts by and never leaves a single toothmark.
Lellouche does herself no favours by wearing such influences on her sleeve, yet her cast are game, the locations look great, and the whole enterprise has an agreeably frothy touch.
This attempt to Re-Play It Again, Sam isn't nearly as amusing as Allen's early, funny films. Mind you, neither is Allen nowadays.
It's less affectionate homage than deeply freaky case study.
The result is merely to make Mr Allen seem more like a genius and the people behind this monstrosity more like . . . Well, let's not get into unkind zoological comparisons.
Certainly a charming and genial tribute to Allen, it just isn't quite as accomplished or ingenious as his work.
This fizzy romantic comedy is slight but charming and perks up considerably when Allen himself makes an appearance.
Alice (Taglioni) is a thirty-something, socially awkward, Parisian, obsessed with the films of Woody Allen. On her bedroom wall hangs a poster of the film-maker, and she imagines him speaking to her through snippets of dialogue from his films (voiced by a French Allen imitator whose attempt at a Brooklyn accent sounds more like Tony Soprano). She's dating the suave but slimy Vincent (Soulier), who pretends to share her taste in movies and music to keep her interested. Victor (Bruel), on the other hand, openly mocks her taste but is genuinely interested in Alice. Who will she choose?
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, they say. If, however, you possess none of the talent of the object of your flattery, you'll end up looking pretty dumb. Two things are made clear about writer-director Lellouche from this dreadful and charmless film: she loves Woody Allen and she isn't qualified to write the dosage instructions on a Lemsip packet, never mind a feature film.
The concept is essentially a reworking of the Allen scripted, Herbert Ross directed 'Play it Again Sam', with an imaginary Bogart replaced by a poster of Allen. The problem is, while Ross' film was a comedy which referenced Film Noir, Lellouche is referencing comedy through comedy. Her film is painfully unfunny, with none of the wit or insight you get from Allen's movies. The effect is akin to watching Bernard Manning perform a Larry David stand-up routine.
I found myself scratching my head at several points, trying to piece together what on earth I was watching. There are sub-plots which go nowhere and several scenes which confused me as to whether they were meant to be flashbacks or not. Bits of 'Hannah and Her Sisters' and 'Manhattan Murder Mystery' are clumsily reworked in a confusing manner. Allen wouldn't wipe his ass with this script.
Taglioni, a leggy Elle MacPherson lookalike, is ludicrously miscast as a nebbish and the only character who feels real is her father, the type of put-upon Jewish father who turns up regularly in Allen's movies.
The great man makes a cameo towards the end but it's not enough to redeem the film, even for the most hardcore of his fans. The greatest insult Lellouche gives Allen is in suggesting his best film is 'Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex', his most moronic comedy. Thank God for the French? Not this time.
A romantic comedy that is not romantic nor funny; instead, it is silly and uninteresting in the same proportion - and not even an adorable cameo by Woody Allen himself is able to lift this movie from being merely ordinary.
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