I suppose I should come clean and warn the reader that I am a bit of a Woody Allen fan. (He wrote and directed this feature, rather than starred in it). So you can take the recommendation with a pinch of whatever seasoning you prefer; depending on your tastes where Mr. Allen’s concerned.
As is often the case with Allen’s films, quite a few familiar faces pop up here’n’there as the tale unfolds. (More a testament to the quality of the writing than to the number of entries in Allen’s address book; I feel. Unlike Adam Sandler movies, where he just seems to give regular bit parts to all his mates for a laugh). The best performances by far, at least for me, came courtesy of: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen and Kathy Bates.
As I said I’m a huge fan of Woody Allen’s writing. I’m not sure how well his movies do at the box office; given they’re a fairly laid back experience compared to the action/CGI flicks dominating the box-office these days. But I suspect that taking part in the whole creative process would be excellent fun for those lucky enough to grab a piece of the action. (I’d expect the actors are in it as much for the story telling as for financial rewards).
Hats off to whomever cast Owen Wilson in the lead role btw. Kinda reminds me of Larry David being cast as Boris in Allen’s 2009 movie Whatever Works. By which I mean that in both cases the personality and dialog for each of the characters has a typical Woody Allen feel about it. No need to see the poster or read the DVD jacket; 5 minutes of character observation and you know who wrote it. But in both cases…Wilson and David…the portrayal has enough of a delivery that it feels right for the actor in question too. Excellent job guys!
OK, where were we? Ah, yeh: Midnight in Paris. This romantic comedy is a neat little tale centered around a moderately successful Screenwriter Gil, who has ambitions to become a serious novelist. Gil’s in town with fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and the future parents-in-law; who came to the French capital on business.
The group are taking the opportunity to mix business with pleasure. (What better place for Gil to get the creative juices flowing)? And co-incidentally bump into Inez’s friends: Paul (Michael Sheen) and Carol. (As a way of adding additional characters into the mix). Inez and Paul insist on getting together (with Gil and Carol of course) for a few sight-seeing excursions. Excellent performances by Sheen and McAdams as the tale unfolds btw. As an insufferable know-it-all and the fiancée from hell respectively.
(Sheen seems fairly versatile btw. I’ve seen him in roles as varied as playing Tony Blair in the Queen to playing a werewolf in Underworld. Mmmm…images of Kate Beckinsale clad head-to-toe in leather now).
The story really gets going when Gil finally has enough of Paul during a wine tasting event and decides to take a leisurely stroll back to the hotel alone; rather than go dancing with Paul and the ladies. As the title suggests, midnight is when Paris really comes to life. At least for Gil.
I’ll actually leave any further plot references at this point, for fear of spoiling the movie. The only thing I will say is that obviously most movies are about suspending disbelief. But when Woody Allen does it, it’s more with a sense of: “yeah I know it couldn’t happen…but what if it did”? (Think: The Purple Rose of Cairo).
His movies are always kinda quirky in thread. I guess with his stand-up background he’s used to making observations; then exaggerating or leading you somewhere unexpected. This tale is no different in that regard. Nothing too taxing for the melon, but a tidy little tale and interesting character interactions to entertain. Seriously, have a butcher’s. I enjoyed it.