French romantic comedy is ode to Woody Allen

Alice Taglioni and Patrick Bruel star in ‘Paris-Manhattan,’ part of this year’s St. Louis Jewish Film Festival.  

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

Charming and breezy, but lacking any substance or bite, “Paris Manhattan” is writer-director Sophie Lellouche’s homage to her filmmaker idol, Woody Allen. The romantic comedy centers on Alice (Alice Taglioni), a thirtysomething pharmacist from a loving but off-center Jewish French family. 

Though Alice is drop-dead gorgeous and has a quirky, likeable personality, true love somehow has eluded her. The only man she idolizes is Allen, whose giant poster looms large in her bedroom. In scenes slightly reminiscent of “Play It Again, Sam,” the Wood Man answers Alice’s questions about life, love and existentialism in cleverly executed sound bytes from his previous movies.

One night Alice meets Victor (Patrick Bruel), a security genius who seems able to crack open everything except Alice’s heart. That part looks to belong to new boyfriend Vincent, who, as several friends and family note, seems too good to be true.

Of course this being rom-com territory, it’s just a matter of time before Alice realizes what the rest of us already know. Unfortunately, the twists and turns leading up to that inevitability aren’t particularly inspired, or as it is, funny. But thanks to an appealing cast and a film that runs only 76 minutes, “Paris Manhattan” turns out to be a nice place to visit.

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