Midnight in Paris (5/2/12)

Midnight in ParisMovie One Hundred Ten

Midnight in Paris is one of the few Woody Allen films where he remains behind the camera and lets an actor (in this case Owen Wilson) take the main role.

In the film, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter writing his first novel who has traveled to Paris with his fiancee, Inez (Rachel McAdams), for a vacation with her parents. Gil is truly the odd man out, even with Inez’s friends. One night after a party, Gil is walking alone when an “antique” limousine approaches and the occupants welcome him inside. He discovers he has traveled back to the 1920s, an era he had previously wished to have been a part of.

For the most part, Midnight in Paris works fairly well. It captures some of the most romantic ideas about Paris culture throughout the past 100 or so years and if nothing else, solidifies our love affair with the city. Although it’s a bit of an atypical Allen film, it works. I found the people in Gil’s present-day life to be insufferable, it made me grit my teeth at times. In fact, they made me lose some interest in the film.

When Gil is in the 1920s meeting celebrities of the time, Midnight in Paris becomes a wonderment, but for the most part, the present-day sequences just grated me. Perhaps it would be more tolerable on a second viewing. I should also point out that Owen Wilson bugs me in most films, but I think he fits in quite well with Allen’s persona and sense of humor. He’s part Wilson and part Allen, not quite taking his role to the levels of an impersonation of Allen, but dialing it back enough so that it’s uniquely him.

I am far from an expert on Woody Allen films, but of the handful I have seen, I would rank Midnight in Paris somewhere in the middle. It almost seems like the Woody Allen film for people that don’t care for Woody Allen films, so take that as you will.

I give it 3 I really wish Nick Offerman played Ernest Hemingways out of 5.

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