An airy, half-baked meringue of a movie, Paris Can Wait is the kind of film that leaves you famished — not just for la belle vie on screen but for the stronger sustenance of plot and character. Instead, Eleanor Coppola (wife of Francis Ford, mother of Sofia) settles for a cinematic experience that is essentially all scenic route: a sun-dappled road-trip ramble rich in the buttery wonders of French cuisine and whisper-light on story line.
Diane Lane stars as Anne, the mildly neglected wife of Michael (Alec Baldwin), a garrulous producer — even his ringtone barks like a Doberman — who has urgent business in Budapest and a mess to fix on set in Morocco. Hobbled by an ear infection, Anne decides to opt out and head straight from their hotel in Cannes to an old friend’s apartment in Paris instead; Michael’s producing partner Jacques (Arnaud Viard) kindly volunteers the passenger seat in his old Peugeot.
It should be a short commute, but because Jacques is the type of Gallic hedonist who can leave no snail untasted or pinot cork unpopped, a day trip becomes an odyssey: Eat Drink Drive filtered through a dreamy Nancy Meyers-lite lens. Lane looks lovely in her breathable linens, though it’s unclear exactly who she is beyond her vague hobbies (she once owned a dress shop and likes to take artily framed photos of croissants and cobblestones). Even as a late revelation — and the bittersweet specter of romance — hints at hidden depths, Paris keeps its placid, pretty surfaces intact. B–