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PARIS CAN WAIT: C’EST SI BON

Not every film is intended for a wide audience, and I don’t expect everyone to be swept away by Eleanor Coppola’s romantic travelogue Paris Can Wait. It focuses on people of a certain age and takes its time meandering around France at its most picturesque . The set-up is simple: a charming fellow escorts a movie producer’s wife from Cannes to Paris, taking every possible detour along the way. They stop to admire beautiful scenery and indulge in sumptuous meals; after enjoying an impromptu picnic, they even imagine themselves recreating Manet’s painting “Le Dejeneur sur l’Herbe.”

Being of that certain age and highly susceptible to the charms of Diane Lane, who plays the female lead, I enjoyed this attractive bon-bon and suspect that others of my ilk will feel the same way. I have a feeling this is exactly the movie that 80-year-old Eleanor Coppola intended to make as her narrative film debut. It feels organic and pure.

Arnaud Viard plays the man who is tasked with shepherding Alec Baldwin’s wife to the City of Light but is in no hurry to get there. Being American, she is eager to arrive at her destination. Being French, he encourages her to savor the pleasures of the journey. He is an unrepentant flirt and while she isn’t immune to his approach, she is happily married and not interested in having a casual affair. She is much more interested in using her keen eye to take photographs along the way—and does, with admirable results.

Paris Can Wait is not destined to become a critical darling, or a box-office hit, but any film that celebrates the beauty of France and its culinary culture can’t and shouldn’t be dismissed. It is also an ideal showcase for Diane Lane. I enjoyed watching it, and as the French say, chac’un àu son goût (to each his own).

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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