' ' Cinema Romantico: The Ultimate American in Paris

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Ultimate American in Paris

“Emily in Paris”, the much-publicized new Netflix series from “The $treet” impresario Darren $tar, has been criticized in some quarters for both its absurd, simplistic portrayal of social media and predictable Parisian clichés. All of that, however, bothered me far less, if at all, than how a woman from the states – Emily (Lily Collins) – with her beachy waves and her corporate commandments [throws up in mouth] in tow comes to live in a European city – Paris – is so damn American. What’s more, though another character chastises her belief in fanciful American movies rather than movies that show life as it is, the personal side of “Emily in Paris” sticks to familiar American rom com banalities, all conveyed in typical Netflix non-subversion, busy as hell but congenial, refusing to challenge, refusing to make you think, even for a second, at all, just meant to be consumed like so many empty calories. None of this would even be problem, though, if the show itself knew this but $tar and his team still operate under the notion that Emily is falling under Paris’s sway when, in fact, she is both resisting attitudinal shifts in any real way and instead innately impressing her own American attitude on everyone around her. Get the hook, I kept wanting to say to Emily’s boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu).

I mean, you wanna make something about an American in Paris, make something about an American in Paris, but don’t feed me this horse hockey. And that, as it had to, got me to thinking about American in Paris movies. Who is the ultimate American in Paris?

No, not him.

Not them either. Too arty. 

Ah, that’s a little more like it. A wide-eyed Steve Buscemi in “Paris, je t'aime” who runs afoul of Parisian etiquette, not an Ugly American archetype so much as an American In Over His Head.

Greta Gerwig, meanwhile, as hapless Frances Halladay is too down in the dumps to enjoy her spontaneous Parisian getaway at all.

Still, Buscemi and Gerwig are on holiday and being on holiday...that’s not so American. No, Tom Cruise working in Paris in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”, zooming his motorcycle through the scenic streets, oblivious to the architecture, nose to the action-adventure grindstone amid so many blissed out café dwellers, that’s pretty darn American.

But not quite as American as Sam (Robert DeNiro) in “Ronin.” Because Sam is not only in France on a job, he goes to the French Riviera and pretends to be a tourist in the name of getting that job done. Doing more work by pretending to have fun? That is as American as it gets.

1 comment:

mercatiwriter@aol.com said...

I love Gene Kelly, but I find An American in Paris just sort of long and goofy!!