The art of the perfect road trip is a rare one indeed. You cannot just hit the road with a paper map; instead you have to let the road lead to where it wants you to go. Yeah I know that sounds like something you might find in a fortune cookie, but it is true nonetheless. As long as there has been road trips, there have been movies about them. With films like “Easy Rider”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Little Miss Sunshine” when you are on the road you are usually in good company, or a least the kind that make the trip interesting. So knowing the standards that a film must meet you just hope a new entry doesn’t end up like the actual movie “Road Trip” because why would we want to relive that.
A good way to avoid the traps and not become that movie we just mentioned is to put this road trip in France. Anne (Diane Lane) and her husband Michael (Alec Baldwin) whose job in show business takes them to Pairs, France. Anne has a problem with her ears and cannot fly but the problem is solved when Michael’s partner Jacques (Arnaud Viard) offers to drive Anne to Paris. While Anne plans to get to Paris rather quickly, Jacques has other plans, as he seems to stop ever few minutes to partake in, you know, France. Every stop seems to consist of good food and wine as Jacques keeps reassuring Anne they will not make any more. At some point the stops become less about the food than it is about Anne who must withstand the charm of France aa well as Jacques on the road to Paris.
This is one of those few charming takes on a good road trip. Writer/Director Eleanor Coppola aims more of the feeling of 2010’s “The Trip”, but without the impressions and fine job doing it. Lead by Lane, who just shines as Anne, ‘Paris’ relies on a small cast, with the focus mostly on Lane and Viard. This is a film you do not want to go into hungry, as you your eyes will be teasing your stomach through much of the gourmet meals. While the food looks marvelous it is not the only reason you will like what you see. Between Lane and Viard it is hard to resist their chemistry and double the charm and again, there is the beauty that is France. When I was not hungry with the sight of amazing food, I was smiling at the films delight. For me it mixes so many things I love together food, wine, and cinema it is kind of hard to resist. Coppola does a stellar job putting you in the car with the pair, but without feeling cramped. It doesn’t take long while watching to realize how much the title makes sense and while Paris can indeed wait, you shouldn’t to see this one.