Forget Paris Review
By Christopher Null
It's a shame that so many romantic comedies are in current release, because inevitably, something good is going to be overlooked due to the cinematic glut of warm fuzzies. As the third of its type in about as many weeks, Forget Paris is one of the strongest entries of the genre.
Billy Crystal directs and stars in this Baby Boomer romantic fable about a pair of star-crossed lovers (Crystal, as Mickey, and Debra Winger, as Ellen) who can't seem to get their relationship right. Going through a dozen iterations of "boy meets girl, boy loses girl," the couple's story is told through a narrative from their friends over dinner.
Mickey is a tempestuous basketball referee (and some of the film's funniest moments are with him on the courts with the players--unfortunately, they have been overplayed ad nauseum in the film's trailers). Ellen is the newly found love of his life, an American expatriate working in Paris for an airline which loses Mickey's dead father, who is being flown to France for his burial.
What follows is Woody Allen-esque hilarity. The couple really click and finally get together. Ellen leaves Paris to be with Mickey. Mickey quits his traveling ref job to be with Ellen. Ellen's father moves in. No one is happy, and one thing after another conspires against our tragic couple to keep things from getting better. The bulk of the film is their various attempts at working things out, none of which seem to work.
Crystal and Winger (cast against type and pulling it off well) have some great chemistry, and they play off each other perfectly with characteristic sarcasm. Using the friends as a narrative plot device is weak, but it is understated enough not to distract you from the rest of the picture.
As a romance, Forget Paris is hauntingly realistic and downright hilarious, and although it gets a bit silly in places (as is expected when Crystal is around), it doesn't flinch in showing you the unglamorous flip side to the Hollywood Ending. I'd wager that most of the audience will leave the theater with a "been there, done that" sentiment that balances the comedy perfectly.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 19th May 1995
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Castle Rock Entertainment, Columbia Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 17
Cast & Crew
Starring: Billy Crystal as Mickey Gordon, Debra Winger as Ellen Andrews Gordon, Joe Mantegna as Andy, Cynthia Stevenson as Liz, Richard Masur as Craig, Julie Kavner as Lucy, John Spencer as Jack, Mary Ann Hermansen as Knicks City Dancer, Bill Laimbeer as Himself, John Starks as Himself, Charles Barkley as Himself, David Robinson as Himself, Dan Majerle as Himself, Kevin Johnson as Himself, Paul Westphal as Himself, Sean Elliott as Himself, Patrick Ewing as Himself, Tim Hardaway as Himself, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as Himself, Reggie Miller as Himself, Chris Mullin as Himself, Charles Oakley as Himself, Kurt Rambis as Himself, Isiah Thomas as Himself, Marques Johnson as Himself, Rush Limbaugh as Himself, David Sanborn as Himself, Spud Webb as Himself