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'Paris-Manhattan' review: Wooden Woody rip-off

Alice Taglioni as Alice and Patrick Bruel as

Alice Taglioni as Alice and Patrick Bruel as Victor in "Paris-Manhattan" a 2012 romantic comedy directed by Sophie Lellouche and centered on a Woody Allen-obsessed pharmacist (Taglioni) and her would-be lover (Bruel). Photo Credit: Palace Film

"Don't Play It Again, Sam -- PLEASE!" might have been the title of Sophie Lellouche's Woody Allen homage-cum-ripoff, "Paris-Manhattan," which puts an all-too-obvious twist on the well-known 1972 comedy by Herb Ross ("The Goodbye Girl"). Based on a play by Allen, "Play It Again, Sam" told of a nebbish who takes romantic advice from his hero, Humphrey Bogart. Here, the too-lovely Alice (Alice Taglioni, who is anything but a female version of any early Allen character) takes advice from a poster of Woody Allen she keeps in her bedroom (the words of wisdom having been lifted from Allen movies). One supposes that if, by some unlikely convergence of circumstance, the mind that came up with this premise could also invest it with wit, the result would have seemed like genius. It does not.

It seems instead like an attractively photographed but misfired attempt at a blithely witty comedy of questionable manners, many of them exhibited by our heroine. Alice runs the family pharmacy but is unmarried, something her mother and sister write off to her lack of femininity. It might just be a lack of charm. Nevertheless, she has a will-they/won't-they encounter with a security specialist (the likable Patrick Bruel), which becomes bogged down in aimless plot digressions, lackluster attempts at humor and a struggling performance by Taglioni, who simply can't breathe life into Lellouche's script. Taglioni's character is quite often downright unpleasant and the obvious attempt by Lellouche to shoplift someone else's better jokes for her own benefit has a cumulatively poisonous effect on the viewer. Why Allen himself agreed to do a cameo is a mystery, almost as baffling as how this project got off the ground at all.

PLOT A young Parisian allows her romantic choices to be directed by Woody Allen


CAST Alice Taglioni, Patrick Bruel, Marine Delterme, Woody Allen


BOTTOM LINE Leaden attempt at light romantic comedy that will probably irritate the very Allen fans at whom it's so obviously aimed.

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