Forget Paris (1995)
User ReviewsReview this title
Mickey (Crystal) travels to France to bury his father, only to find that the airline has accidentally sent the body to the wrong airport. Ellen (Winger) is the airline official sent to assure Mickey that everything possible is being done. Despite meeting under such an awkward situation, soon enough they are walking the streets of Paris together and romance blossoms. But with lives on different sides of the Atlantic, there are going to be a lot sacrifices...
And if the movie ever begins to feel as though it might be getting bogged down in the romance, it steps out to the "present day" restaurant scene where friends are sharing the story, each telling a different part and eager to find out what happened in the end.
An entertaining, funny and above all, charming story.
Crystal is a basketball referee who is accompanying his father's dead body to Normandy for burial. The airline sends the body to Switzerland accidentally, and Winger is the airline official who smooths Crystal's ruffled feathers. She even attends the funeral, and soon the two of them are exploring the sites of Paris together. They get on well, but Crystal has to return to the U.S. But he returns and proposes marriage. After an initial delay, Winger accepts the proposal, and we watch the resulting marriage.
It is an intensely felt love affair, but it isn't smooth. She does not like losing her high paying job in Paris to return to the U.S., nor that he is going around the country most of the time as a referee at games. He tries to work at a different job, and finds her father (William Hickey) driving him batty with his senility (he keeps repeating the Toyota automobile slogan from the 1990s). And there are more serious problems about infertility, including a funny routine when Crystal is repeatedly delayed running to a fertility clinic.
The story of their love affair and marriage is related by Joe Mantegna, Richard Masur, Julie Kavner, and John Spencer, at a dinner party in an Italian restaurant. The personalities and marriage situations of the friends of our hero and heroine get exposed too during the dinner. All of the friends give good performances as does Hickey and Robert Constanza as the world's most philosophically charming waiter. Listen to him describing various drinks.
The film is a feel good movie, and does well as such.
Billy Crystal plays a basketball referee who travels to Paris in order to bury his recently-deceased father. However alone the way the casket is lost and he's stuck in Paris, where he meets another single woman (Debra Winger) who's under similarly unfortunate circumstances.
They go out, have a fun time, and then resume their normal lives. Crystal goes back to basketball in the US but soon finds he can't concentrate and keeps thinking about his relationship.
Eventually they reunite and get married but it's an uphill struggle.
The movie kind of reminded me of "GoodFellas" (!) due to its structure and how it focused on the downfall of the marriage. Like Ray Liotta's marriage in "GoodFellas" it's not all peachy like most Hollywood films portray them as being.
My favorite sequence is when Crystal is transporting his semen to a hospital and gets stopped by a traffic cop. Some very funny moments like this, as well as good chemistry between the stars and an interesting narrative structure, make it a worthwhile - if not particularly memorable - romantic comedy, better than many others in its genre. At least it's entertaining and believable.
My favorite scenes: them driving around Paris; the bird glued to her face; when she shows up at the game and at the restaurant. I liked the movie. The music is nice. It made me laugh. I recommend it, it is an enjoyable movie.
I confess that I am a romantic. I hoped that Mickey and Ellen would get together, but I was not certain they would. That lack of certainty was maintained until the end for me. Even so, I have nothing against predictable movies. In film, as in life, it is the journey that is important, not the arrival at your destination. This movie provides a journey that is creative in the device it uses to convey the story, as well as in the unexpected plot twists. Is the climactic scene a little fairy-tale like? Maybe, but so what? I liked it, especially when the basketball reunion scene is followed by the arrival of Mickey and Ellen at the restaurant. The final scene is funny, clever, poignant, and romantic. It brings this delightful tale to a well-deserved and equally delightful end.
From beginning to end, the narrators tell the love story of how the two leads meet, fall in love, and have troubles. Around four or five years is covered in the whole two hour piece. It's comedically written, but then, Crystal is the genius behind that, and it was well executed acting and directing wise.
Anyone who enjoys beautiful cinematography and great lines in a film, you'll enjoy Billy Crystal's "Forget Paris".
Thus, my favorite parts of this film were all in the beginning, especially when "Mickey" was an NBA referee. A few basketball stars got a chance to act, too, showing they should stick with sports. Crystal is a big sports fan so I'm sure enjoyed that segment of the movie.
Also commendable are the nice shots of Paris. I never get tired of looking at that city, no matter what film.
Crystal plays Mickey Gordon, an NBA referee who tries to abide by his estranged father's wishes to be buried in France. The airline has unfortunately lost the casket, and their Paris-based customer relations executive Ellen Andrews tries to correct things for Mickey. Of course, they fall in love since it is Paris, and they get married almost immediately. Complications ensue with Mickey on the road and Ellen unable to conceive a baby. The central conceit of the film is its framing device, a dinner where a group of their friends congregate and share their remembrances of Mickey and Ellen's courtship and marital problems. How they are able to relay such intimate details is never really addressed since it's a plotting contrivance we are supposed to accept.
The other problem is that Crystal is not really acting here but performing his comedy routine as Mickey. Many of his lines sound overly familiar with many of the jokes having a forced feeling, and the role is virtually interchangeable with his Harry from the earlier film. Nevertheless, there are some truly funny bits, such as the running gag with Ellen's senile father (played by a befuddled William Hickey) repeating road signs in the car and the scene with the pigeon getting stuck to the side of Ellen's head. But it's not nearly enough. A solid supporting cast has been assembled as the friends - Joe Mantegna, Julie Kavner (particularly funny), Richard Masur, Cathy Moriarty, John Spencer, Cynthia Stevenson - though they act more like a chorus to the proceedings. The inevitable ending feels hollow since the relationship never felt that resonant. Despite some attempts at serious moments during the second half, this is the type of lightweight film that doesn't linger too long in one's memory. The 2000 DVD has no extras.
I also applaud its realism - many matters don't prove right in the end in real life - nor in this movie - no matter how much they try. Reconciliations fade in light of fundamental issues that exist from the beginning of the marriage.
However, as comedy, the movie usually seemed lame - it had its moments but they were too few. And as drama, there weren't enough moments of real suspense. As a romance, it fails - it's too realistic and I never felt any magic in Debra Winger's character. She was fairly nice, fairly attractive, but rather humdrum in personality. We are taken down a lane familiar to married couples - with all the aggravations real life produces and an occasional chuckle.
The movie is the rather tedious alternative to "happily ever after" - and though the movie rings more truly than "happily ever after",it's not as satisfying. Very little would be needed to darken this movie into "An Unmarried Woman". I preferred Mr. Saturday Night for its dark look at the life of a Milton Berle sort of character - at least it was unfamiliar and interesting territory - this isn't. I do wish I could say otherwise and again think well of Crystal in one respect: he doesn't sugarcoat his tale.
Friends of sports writer Andy (Joe Mantegna) are gathering at a restaurant to be introduced to Liz (Cynthia Stevenson) before their wedding. Liz comments that how she and Andy met must be the oddest ever (a fax had one digit off in the fax number and went to Andy by mistake). Andy says no, how Mickey met Ellen is the weirdest. They met because she helped him bury his father. That starts the friends telling the story of Mickey and Ellen.
Some critics consider this way of telling the story and the plot stale and schmaltzy; but it is so well done that I could care less.
The film genre is romantic comedy; this film's strength is the comedy part of that term. I could give examples but comedy is best when the punchline (or its visual equivalent) is unexpected. Let me just say that one of my favorite bits starts with the focus on an organist going through the motions of preparing to play serious music.
Billy Crystal is known to be a serious basketball fan and in part the film is like a documentary about refereeing NBA games, with a huge number of basketball stars playing themselves. I was bemused at the end of the credits when the standard disclaimer came up saying that all the characters and names in the film were fictitious. Not hardly in this film.
I should mention that Cynthia Stevenson's hysterically tearful performance as Liz listening to Mickey's and Ellen's highs and lows was great.
I also loved the sound track. Ella Fitzgerald singing "April in Paris" is so great; also, Billy Holiday doing the opening "Our Love Is Here To Stay." David Sanborn's saxophone version of the "Star Spangled Banner" is also particularly great.
My one quibble is that I found Debra Winger's voice very sexy in 1982's "Officer and a Gentleman" and she didn't sound the same in 1995's "Forget Paris." I probably don't sound the same as I did 13 years ago either.
As bad as the NBA players are as actors--they are much better than Crystal.
>Billy Crystal: The poor, stupid man's Woody Allen.
>Crushingly bad. Crystal, having already ripped off 'Annie Hall' with the vastly overrated 'When Harry Met Sally' now rips off the lesser 'Broadway Danny Rose'.
And, on date 13 March 2002, IMDb user "Movie-Robot" from New York agreed:
>The guy here who called Crystal "The poor, stupid man's Woody Allen" has a point.
On the other hand, on date 2 March 2002, "The Movie Buff" from Nyc had written:
>This movie holds the record of earliest advanced screening before being released of all-time, 18 years. The film was shown at an advanced screening back in 77 when it was under the working title ANNIE HALL!!!
Does it mean that Woody Allen, when directing "Broadway Danny Rose", ripped off "Annie Hall"!?
Ok, I apologize to these users, whose comments I found anyway very interesting, and suggested me a point of view I had not taken. That's the point! I was not able to see any unforgivable pillage from Allen's movies.
I think Billy Crystal did not want to Explain The Mystery Of Love neither to portrait New Characters Of Modern Times. This is mostly Allen's trade.
Forget Paris is essentially a light comedy, and Billy Crystal is a brilliant guy. Debra Winger is amiable and graceful and many funny dialogues are as original as unforgettable (as the one when he asks her to marry him).
There is actually a scene which irritated me, the one where they lie by the fireplace, I found it kitch, it does not fit well with the rest. But the movie is a must-see for all lovers of the genre.
What about the soundtrack? Well, it just picks up some of the most beautiful songs by Cole Porter, the Gershwins and some other great american composer. If it is lawful, well, it is a beautiful soundtrack!
Billy Crystal is effortlessly funny when he has good material and a good vehicle. He shows this most years recently by towering over the Oscars with his jokes and one liners. However he cannot totally make an average film worth watching, even if he can make it better. Here the plot is interesting it strays away from a normal romantic film by following Mickey and Ellen through the bad times and good times in their relationship. However it suffers from a lack of energy at times it almost feels ponderous. The restaurant interludes help keep it moving but it doesn't quite have the spark that `When Harry Met Sally' had.
Crystal tries hard and has plenty of clever material and witty remarks to mark. However it's not as sharp as you'd hope it to be some of it feels like the man has mellowed with age. Happily he does bring the laughs regularly. Winger isn't as good and the chemistry between her and crystal just isn't there to the extent it needed to be. Mantegna is solid, as are Spencer, Moriarty and Kavner (Marge!). Costanzo has only a few lines but is very funny as the waiter (`it's like me etc'). The array of basketball stars is fun to watch and makes Crystal seem more relaxed and funnier.
Overall this is quite witty and fans of Crystal's style will enjoy it, however it lacks energy and spark for most of the film. However there's enough wit and plot to make it a solid if not brilliant romantic comedy.
Billy's Referee character goes to Paris where his father is to be buried. Debra Winger works for the airline that has "misplaced" the coffin. They are attracted to each other and a relationship is born.
The story of their relationship is told through Joe Montegna, who's character is engaged to Cynthia Stevenson, as all the old friends gather together at an engagement dinner.
This is a warm, funny, engaging comedy and shouldn't be missed.
There are some great stuff in this slightly offkilter rom-com. Crystal and Winger get to say some great lines with their fun delivery. In general, they are able to project a good relationship chemistry. There are fun observational bits like Ellen's muttering father. This is also noted for many cameos by NBA players. There are small deviations from the rom-com formula that keeps this from being better. Usually the formulaic start is more combative. This one is quirky but not heated. It fails to raise the temperature of the relationship. The relationship is retold by others. It leaves the flow disjointed but at least, they are able to keep the final status of the relationship a mystery. Overall, there are some great bits and lines by great comedic actors.
The couple meet in Paris when Ellen, an airline official, helps Mickey, a basketball referee, sort out the airline's error in sending his father's body to the wrong destination. They have a romantic whirlwind courtship, seeing all the sights. However, marriage of course proves a big adjustment back in the States, as Ellen misses her successful airline career. Also, Ellen's father, who's a bit senile, comes to live with the newlyweds in their apartment, driving Mickey crazy.
Nothing the matter with the cast. Billy Crystal is okay here, though I prefer When Harry Met Sally (not my favorite romantic comedy either). He seems to have a consistent persona of crazy yappiness. As a rule, I really like Debra Winger, but this simply isn't her best role.
The movie has some laughs certainly (Mickey's veal ordering rut, for example) and a few good points, such as the father-in-law issue and the fact that the pair do honestly attempt to compromise and make it work, with Mickey for a time sacrificing his travels as referee to be at home with his wife.
However, all in all, it's just too contrived and deliberately modern. The young wife who wants her own career fulfillment. Ho, hum. Naturally, the couple has fertility problems. The wild drive where Mickey is racing his semen sample to the fertility clinic is supposedly hilarious but failed to amuse me much. It seemed with its sexual implications such a calculated attempt to elicit a guaranteed laugh. Sort of like the restaurant faked orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally. The old romantic comedies used to manage quite nicely without this sort of thing. They just don't make them like they used to.
At least the film does make the point that marriage isn't just about romance (hence the phrase, forget Paris) but about sacrifice and commitment. So I suppose in a sense, something of a good message.
Overall I gave 8 out of 10. I liked this movie pretty much.
I kept thinking I was watching When Harry Met Sally. Of course, Crystal's presence had so much to do with the flavor of Harry/Sally that it's hard to tell if the resemblance is a product of his influence on H/S rather than Ephron's on him. But H/S broke lots of new ground, and Paris is formulaic, with a frame based on, as people here have noted, Allen's small but charming innovations in Broadway Danny Rose. I think the best that can be said is that Ephron let the personalities of Crystal and Ryan write her script, while Paris is purely Crystal. For evidence, I offer the amazing fact that in this movie, as opposed to every other movie she's made, Debra Winger isn't interesting.
Man what a rip off. I am convinced that crystal took the script of annie hall, sat down and changed a few things, and then called it Forget Paris. He practically stole everything from that movie. If I was woody allen , I would have filed a law suit or called the cops, cause he was robbed. If you have seen Annie hall, then there is absolutely no reason to waste your time with this horrible remake.