PARIS-MANHATTAN (Sophie Lellouche). 77 minutes. Opens Friday (April 12). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
In Paris-Manhattan, writer/director Sophie Lellouche wants to do with Woody Allen what Woody Allen did with Humphrey Bogart in Play It Again, Sam. But she's just not up to the challenge.
Allen-obsessed Alice (Alice Taglioni), who works at the pharmacy she inherited from her father - and presses Woody Allen DVDs into her customers' hands while she's at it - is unlucky in love. She's so busy trying to make her on-again, off-again thing with Vincent (Yannick Soulier) work that she doesn't notice locksmith Victor (Patrick Bruel), the great guy she could get if she only paid attention.
She bemoans her romantic fate to a wall poster of Allen, who talks back to her in clips from his movies in exchanges that are strangely bland. When you have Allen's own lines to work with, what can go wrong?
Though some family secrets emerge late in the narrative, neither they nor Alice's conflict with her sister (Marine Delterme) are real grabbers. Lellouche never manages to raise the stakes high enough.
The pacing is wonky, the conversations between Alice and poster-guy Allen poorly edited and, though the actors are charming enough and the movie looks terrific, I can't be the only one who's tired of seeing a knockout woman with a great job portrayed as a loser.