Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Midnight in Paris problem -- and ours

I give Woody Allen's new Midnight in Paris a solid B+.

Many people (my GF included) think I am being way too hard on the movie.

After all, they say:

(1) It's Woody's best movie in years. (True.)

(2) It's got a reasonably good story. (Also true -- it's about a writer who, when he walks around Paris after the clock strikes 12, is hurled back into the 1920s.)

(3) Owen Wilson doesn't try to mimic Woody Allen (like Kenneth Branagh did in Celebrity much to everyone's embarrassment), but tries to make the character his own (like Sean Penn in the infinitely better Sweet and Lowdown).

All of which is fine and dandy. And, in my own defense, a B+ is a solid grade! (It was my average, more or less, at college!) Moreover, I enjoyed the movie while I was watching it. Owen Wilson is a surprisingly excellent surrogate for the Woodman. All true.

However, I thought there was so much more that could have been done with the idea. When Wilson arrives at a party and is met by Scott and Zelda (not quite knowing what the last name is), it's a somewhat amusing watching it dawn on him which Scott he's talking to... and the same thing happens with Gertrude, Ernest and Pablo.

But shouldn't there be more to this movie than winking introductions to the great artists who populated Paris during the roaring 20s? (The only actor whose impression seemed to go farther was Adrian Brody as Salvador Dali, whose intensity was funny in a way that Hemingway's wasn't.)

Anyway, here's hoping Owen Wilson becomes one of Woody's regulars.