Paris Manhattan, the Woody Allen inspired by romantic comedy written and directed by Sophie Lellouche, is finally getting sporadic releases throughout the US and Canada starting 12th April. With it’s release has come many reviews.
First the Americans.
The New York Times were cold on the film.
Lighter than cat dander and just as likely to provoke an allergic reaction, “Paris Manhattan” uses a character with a Woody Allen obsession as an excuse to pilfer words and ideas far beyond its ability to synthesize them.
NPR was also negative.
On the topics of love, sex, life and the effect of art on how we live, Woody Allen has had a lot to say. Innocuous as it is, Paris-Manhattan does not.
The Hollywood Reporter were a little warmer.
Pretty, occasionally witty and not believable for a moment, Sophie Lellouche’s Paris-Manhattan is suffused with fannish love for Woody Allen’s films but hardly lives up to their legacy. A couple of nice moments, including a likeable cameo from Allen himself, don’t add up to much potential in Stateside arthouses, particularly given the relative obscurity of the pic’s actors on these shores.
Indie Wire had little good to say.
A love letter to Woody Allen films that attempts to update/homage “Play It Again, Sam,” but fails pretty miserably: all of the original’s wit, heart, and searing commentary is lost in the unfunny and maudlin remake.
New York Post gave it 2 out of 4.
There’s a good cinephile heart beating under this fluffy story. But Lellouche, in making her homage to Allen, left out one of his essential qualities: bite. “Paris-Manhattan” drifts by and never leaves a single toothmark.
There’s little to note about Sophie Lellouche’s shallow, witless but pretty enough French ode to Woody Allen, couched in a loose revision of 1972’s Play It Again, Sam.
Canada was a little less brutal.
The Globe And Mail gave it 2 and a half stars out of 5
Even at its worst, Paris-Manhattan can be charming. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with simplicity. But from its title sequence to the final credits, it’s begging to be compared to Woody Allen’s movies. And just like we know from the start what’s going to happen to Alice, we know who wins that comparison.
Toronto Star also found something to like.
This tale of romantic and family foibles is too light to be more than a featherweight variation on Hannah and Her Sisters transplanted to the City of Lights. But the comedian’s many fans should be sufficiently charmed by Lellouche’s tribute, especially when the man himself drops by for a cameo.
Canada.com gave it 2 and a half out of 5
Alice herself doesn’t seem to have much personality, beyond a cheery resignation and a smooth likability.
The same is true of the film itself, which has an easy tone that slowly gathers momentum. By the final reel, the movie comes to life and finds a magical mood of happy surrender: when Alice, wearing a red dress, rides her scooter down a Parisian street, we get something of that tingly feeling of nostalgia, sentiment and bittersweet rapture of the best of Woody’s cinema. It’s almost enough, but not quite: you don’t have to play it again Sam. We got it the first time.
Exclaim.ca gave it 6 out of 10.
Paris-Manhattan is an easy watch, having the occasional funny moment and little complex darkness to sully its many feel good components.
Next Projection stood out with a positive take.
There’s no doubt that Paris-Manhattan will be more suited to those well-versed in the work of Allen than those unfamiliar entirely, though Lellouche does her part to enmesh his influence with more beyond that. The film’s success comes in using its conceit not as a crutch, but as a means by which to enrich its own character exploration.
It’s probably no surprise to find that America has not reacted well to this film, and that Canada are a bit more open to French flicks. We liked the film – but then again we would. We run a Woody Allen fan site.
Paris Manhattan is out now in limited release across the US and Canada.