Review: ‘Paris Can Wait,’ at Least Until After the Crème Brûlée

“Paris Can Wait,” a smugly affluent Euro trifle and the first narrative feature from Eleanor Coppola (the wife of Francis Ford Coppola), is little more than an indulgent wallow in gustatory privilege. By the time the final meal is devoured, you’ll be wanting nothing so much as an antacid.

Inspired by similar events in Ms. Coppola’s past, the story fusses around Anne (an overqualified Diane Lane) as she trundles from Cannes to Paris in an old Peugeot. Anne’s husband, a frantic Hollywood producer (a barely seen Alec Baldwin), has been urgently summoned to Budapest. So his amiable French business partner, Jacques (Arnaud Viard), has offered to drive Anne to her destination — via seemingly every notable restaurant en route.

What follows is a Michelin-starred commercial for French cuisine gussied up as Anne’s journey of self-discovery. When not inhaling jus d’agneau and crème brûlée — and a cheese basket the size of a small fishing boat — the two visit famous landmarks and exchange flirty glances. But when Anne finally peels off her pantyhose, it isn’t to indulge in a roadside quickie; it’s to repair the Peugeot’s broken fan belt. So practical, these American women!

Between promoting her son-in-law’s band and tediously freeze-framing Anne’s amateur snapshots, Ms. Coppola (best known for her riveting 1991 documentary about the making of “Apocalypse Now”) never realizes Anne as more than a bland accessory who lets men tell her what to eat. Unlike Martine (Élise Tielrooy), a forthright Venusian beauty from Jacques’s past.

“You’ll never forget your travels with Jacques,” Martine promises, flushed with remembered ecstasies. Oh, Martine, I’m pretty sure we will.

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