Sometimes a film comes along where within seconds you know it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. Lost in Paris is one of those, and by the scene when the lead gets to Paris, you know you will hate this film with all of your innards. It’s being sold as a sort of modern update of the work of French auteur Jacques Tati, but to compare this merde to Tati is an insult to his legacy.
It’s just the most unbearably “quirky” film—there’s nothing wrong with being quirky, but when it goes into actually being irksome, that’s when the problems arise. The film was made by the comic actor/director/writer team of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, who are also a long time couple. That might part of the problem: they are so infatuated with each other that it’s like watching a couple engaging in PDA to a disgusting degree.
Fiona plays this dumb-as-fuck Canadian who comes to Paris to see her aunt. Her aunt has sent her a letter, but she only got it late. Then she loses all her stuff. Dominique plays this tramp (Chaplin wants a cut) who discovers her stuff, and they meet on a restaurant boat because hey, it’s Paris! She soon figures out he has her things, but she never gets the police involved even after he steals her money, takes her sweater, and starts stalking her. Only the French would make a love story about a creepy stalker guy who fucks an 88-year-old in a tent and then falls in love with her niece. Oh yeah, the aunt is played by French icon Emmanuelle Riva, I’m sorry that this was one of her last films.
The slapstick humour falls completely flat: I didn’t laugh once. Obviously comedies should be seen in audiences, but I’m sure if I had seen Lost in Paris in the cinema I still would not have laughed once, and would have felt embarrassed for those who did laugh at the duo’s attempt at “comedy.” Tati or even Buster Keaton may not have always been laugh-a-minute, but their mastery of the medium shines through their work. It also has some obnoxious dance scenes that go on and on, and for a film that runs a tiny bit over 80 minutes it feels awfully long.
My advice is to avoid this film like the plague: it starts out like a lame attempt at Wes Anderson’s style in the Canadian scene, and then moves on to being a poor attempt at riffing on Tati’s shtick. The film’s theme music is some whimsical folky crap by Kate McGarrigle, which just adds to the painful tweeness. It just shows that Canada can make truly unbearable comedies just like everywhere