A man takes on a certain amount of stress and responsibility
when he decides to direct, produce, co-write and star in a movie. Steve
Martin struck out with A SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE. Mel Brooks had
several successes and flops. Billy Crystal, though, has managed to
work in front of and behind the scenes of several movies. He took the
gamble again here and won, with this movie that's a blatant WHEN
HARRY MET SALLY clone yet takes on an identity and some hilarous
humor of its own.
Crystal goes to Paris to bury his dead dad and is put through
two days of hell after the airline loses the body (but at least they didn't
send it down the luggage carousel). On the plus side, his situation
allows him to meet Debra Winger, an airline employee in charge of
recovering missing corpses. It turns out the two were meant to be
together, as they're the only two people in the world who can trade
rapid-fire sarcasm back and forth without even cracking a smile.
The week they spend together in Paris is sheer bliss (It can't
just be "bliss," it has to be "sheer bliss," or maybe "pure bliss," but
"bliss" can't stand alone.), and when it comes to an end, Crystal asks
her to marry him. She eventually agrees and the two end up married,
with Winger giving up her profession to move in with him, but the
marriage is seemingly doomed from the start. Crystal is on the road
most of the time as an NBA referee, not to mention various trying
episodes of the movie, one where Winger gets a pigeon glued to her
face (in a hysterically funny yet indescribable scene), another where
Winger's senile father moves in with them, and yet another where the
two try every known method to have a baby. As if the NAKED GUN
33 1/3 sperm bank scene wasn't bad enough, now we've got Billy
Crystal asking a nurse for the BARBARELLA video so he can be
stimulated enough to fill a plastic cup.
The whole story is told to Crystal's friend Joe Mantegna's
fiance (played by Hope or Gloria--I'm not sure which) in a restaurant.
Different stages of the relationship are told to the woman as the other
dinner guests arrive (including Cathy Moriarty and Julie "Marge
Simpson" Kavner), culminating in the arrival of Crystal himself at the
end to complete the story. It's an incredibly clever plot device, I'll give
Crystal that. And FORGET PARIS is overall a clever and funny movie.
You basketball fans will be glad to know dozens of NBA stars appear
as themselves in this movie. I can now die fulfilled, knowing I've seen
Billy Crystal and Charles Barkley together onscreen.
Copyright © 1996 Andrew Hicks