Monday, June 20, 2011
Midnight in Paris: A Delightful Little Comedy
Midnight in Paris, this year's new Woody Allen movie (who churns one out every year with no end in sight), is a very charming, albeit slight, comedy starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. They play an engaged couple, Gil and Inez, who go on a nice trip to Paris, France with Inez's parents. During the trip, Inez bumps into an old friend named Paul (Michael Sheen), the pretentious know-it-all who impresses Inez with his endless knowledge, much to Gil's annoyance.
But luckily for Gil, he is about to have quite an adventure for himself in Paris. Gil is a hack Hollywood screenwriter looking to make the next Great American Novel and he's about to find a whole lot of inspiration during his trip in Paris. I'd hate to give away what the big reveal is, but if you are a fan of 1920s literature, prepare yourself. This movie is for you.
Granted, Woody Allen's film is not for everyone but what I like about the film is how he does not care about pleasing everybody with this film. This film is basically one large inside joke with all fans of literature and those on the outside may not find much to admire about this film. Still, I think this is a very charming film all around and it's one of the better ones of the late Woody Allen period. I wouldn't quite put it up there with Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which I adore, but this film has the type of charm that's quite similar to Allen's Purple Rose of Cairo. Purple Rose, however, is not as slight and, to me, is pure cinematic bliss. Midnight in Paris is not without its problems, but its biggest strength is actually Owen Wilson.
Owen Wilson does a great job with the "Woody" character. He's not the neurotic New York intellectual, he's much more of an optimistic; someone who is willing to go along for the ride. It's the perfect combination of Owen Wilson and Woody Allen, as if Owen Wilson was actually meant to deliver Woody Allen's lines all along. It's kinda weird, really, but it's true. Owen Wilson has not been better than this. His performance is complemented by a great supporting cast which includes Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Kurt Fuller, Carla Bruni, and the scene-stealing Alison Pill who couldn't be any more different in this film than her character in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Woody Allen has been really hit or miss as of late so the knee-jerk reaction to a good film of his is to praise the hell out of it. But this isn't perfect Allen, not even near-perfect. It's still a really good film and the perfect film to watch this summer when you want to take a break from all the dumb Summer blockbusters (some of which can be fun, I'm not a hater). Just don't think you can check your brain at the door before you see the film, it's a thinking man's (or woman's) comedy, a very fun one.