This first fluffy feature effort from Eleanor Coppola (wife of Francis and Sofia’s mum), until now known for the memoir Notes and the doco Hearts Of Darkness (both concerning the chaotic creation of Francis’ Apocalypse Now), was in production when she turned 80, which almost sets a record.
However, this familiar and pretty silly road movie/would-be-rom-com isn’t a classic, and succeeds mostly due to the presence of the classy and picky Diane Lane, formerly one of the stars of Francis’ The Outsiders, Rumble Fish and The Cotton Club, who just about makes even the lamest French clichés work.
Opening at the Cannes Film Festival (which, of course, Eleanor has been to several times), we meet Anne (Diane Lane), whose husband Michael (Alec Baldwin, although it was nearly Nicolas Cage/Coppola) is a famed movie producer who’s forever on his mobile phone. They’ve planned to visit Paris for quality time together, having left their daughter back in the States to face her teen dramas solo, but when Anne is advised not to fly due to an ear infection and Michael must detour via Budapest to sort out an on-set issue, the plot mechanics grind and she winds up being driven to Paris by a business partner of Michael’s named Jacques (Arnaud Viard).
Or at least that’s the original idea. Michael foolishly seems not to realise that Anne feels underappreciated and that Jacques is, well, French. Soon the pair has stopped along the way for endless and expensive wining and dining, as well as visits to Roman aqueducts, the Lumière Brothers Museum and a succession of Jacques’ friends (and perhaps lovers). There’s an iffy subplot where Jacques is shown to be leeching from Anne’s credit card, and she doesn’t mind as he’s so charming and he’ll supposedly be paying her back (no, honestly!). She naturally keeps on having to ignore his flirting and spurn his amourous advances. Or does she? Even Eleanor can’t quite decide if she should or not.
The scenery looks nice and she and Arnaud try hard to make it all appear less dopey than it actually is, but the end result is fairly laboured and forgettable. And that weird bit of fourth-wall-busting? Seriously indigestible!
Rated PG. Paris Can Wait is in cinemas now