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Forget Paris

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Forget Paris

Starring: Billy Crystal, Debra Winger
Director: Billy Crystal
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 101 Minutes
Release Date: May 1995
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Joe Mantegna, Julie Kavner, Richard Masur, Cathy Moriarty, Cynthia Stevenson, William Hickey, Robert Costanzo

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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Andrew Hicks read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

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

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