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Film review: 'Paris Can Wait'


The first narrative feature from Eleanor Coppola (wife of Francis, and mother of Sophia), "Paris Can Wait" is a pleasant, airy travelogue about a woman rediscovering the simple pleasures of life. Diane Lane stars as Anne, the wife of a workaholic film producer, Michael (Alec Baldwin). The couple are set to depart the Cannes Film Festival for Budapest, where he has some business to conduct before continuing on to Paris, but an earache prevents Anne from joining her husband on their private jet. When Anne decides to travel straight on to Paris, Michael's producing partner, Jacques (Arnaud Viard), offers to drive her.

It should be less than a day's drive, but Jacques is in no hurry, stopping to smell the figurative baguettes at every opportunity, and taking great satisfaction in introducing Anne to new restaurants and pointing out historical sites and art of particular significance. The short excursion gradually turns into a two day journey through the French countryside.

Like a less humorous variation on "The Trip," another story about watching privileged people enjoy a lush life of luxury, "Paris Can Wait" carries you along on waves of lovingly photographed meals and locations. There are hints of hidden depths, and a touch of romance through Jacques mildly flirtatious behavior, but Coppola keeps it all below the film's blandly serene surface. Anne remains a passive character, following Jacques' whims wherever they may take him. Lane and Viard are both agreeably warm performers, and they make the trip charming enough that you'll only occasionally find yourself wondering, "Are we there yet?"