FORGET PARIS is a Billy Crystal movie in the style of one of Woody
Allen's New York Jewish comedies. Crystal is the lead actor, the
producer, the director, and the lead writer (along with Lowell Ganz and
Babaloo Mandel). He is even, briefly, the only singer in the movie. I
can not find the cinematographer's name so for all I know, Billy was
behind the camera as well.
FORGET PARIS tells the story of a hard nosed NBA referee called
Mickey (Billy Crystal). He refers to himself as a "vertically
challenged" individual, but he is not afraid of the redwood tree sized
athletes of the NBA. He looks right up to them and orders them around.
In one classic scene, Mickey looses it, and throws every member and
coach of both teams out on the game for technical fouls. If you like
the NBA, I don't, you can see all your favorite stars in cameos roles
through out the movie although the basketball scenes take up less ten
percent of the show.
Nothing intimidates Mickey until he has to go to Paris to bury his
father and the French airline looses his father's body in baggage
handling. The French representatives of the airline do not care about
his complaints. He lives in the airport for two days complaining to
them. Finally, a middle manager at the airline, an American named
Ellen (Debra Winger), takes over his case and awards him the honor of
"passenger of the month" to make up for all of the troubles they have
caused him. He asks her to show him Paris and the on again, off again
romance begins from there.
The whole story of their romance is told in a series of flashbacks
by their friends (Julie Kavner, Joe Mantegna, Richard Masur, Cathy
Moriarty, John Spencer, etc.) having dinner in New York. The dinner
party is actually quite interesting as well. It provided the most
humorous single line. Joe Mantegna and his finance are telling how
they met. It seems he FAXed her by accident since he punched one digit
wrong. She then FAXed him back across the country and soon she said
"we were FAXing each other's brains out".
By far the funniest sequence has to be all of the fertility clinic
scenes. The dialog is uproarious. I had trouble controlling myself I
was laughing so hard. I got to worrying that I might be offensive to
the rest of the audience I was laughing so loud.
All of the above having been said, I am sad to report that the
movie was extremely uneven in quality. Most of the time, it was like a
flywheel that kept spinning but engaged only infrequently. Crystal
directed the actors so that they were like detached free agents.
Moreover, the script only allocated them funny material at sporadic
intervals. When the scene's should have had strong male bonding, there
was none. The chemistry between Mickey and Ellen was never there so you
did not care about them. Since the movie tried to be both serious and
comedic, having no believable relationships was a real problem.
The comedy, when it was present, was excellent. The serious part was
non-engaging, dull, and lifeless.
FORGET PARIS runs a quick 1:40. It is rated PG-13 for the
fertility clinic scene, but overall, it is a mild PG-13. There is no
nudity or violence, albeit a lot of discussion of sex. FORGET PARIS,
when it worked, made me laugh hard and long so I can easily recommend
it to you. On the other hand, the vast majority of the film had no
value other than filling in time before the next joke came along, so
I am only awarding it only ** 1/2.
Copyright © 1995 Steve Rhodes