Grace is excited for the summer so she can start a business with her friends, but things take an unexpected turn when her mom announces a trip to Paris. There, Grace must learn to get along ... Read allGrace is excited for the summer so she can start a business with her friends, but things take an unexpected turn when her mom announces a trip to Paris. There, Grace must learn to get along with her French cousin, Sylvie, and she finds unexpected inspiration for her business. The... Read allGrace is excited for the summer so she can start a business with her friends, but things take an unexpected turn when her mom announces a trip to Paris. There, Grace must learn to get along with her French cousin, Sylvie, and she finds unexpected inspiration for her business. Then, Grace finds out her grandparents bakery, that inspired her to start a business, is clos... Read all
I'm not going to try to guess how this movie will go over with its intended audience, young American girls who buy AG dolls. My reason for watching it was to see how it depicts Paris and French culture, and that's what I'll restrict my comments to here.
Unlike *Passport to Paris*, for example, the awful Olson twins movie aimed for largely the same audience, this movie doesn't really do much with Paris or the Parisians. There is a quick - very quick - bicycle tour of the famous Parisian monuments 25 minutes into the picture. Other than that, most of what we see of the city is the inside of Grace's aunt's VERY luxurious apartment in Paris and her French husband's HUGE pastry shop on the rue de la Paix, one of the most expensive shopping districts in the French capital. This is the world of those who have money, lots of money.
We don't see much of Parisians, so we don't deal with the stereotypes on which some American comedies set in Paris play. Grace's French half-cousin isn't "snooty," despite what the pr person wrote in the previous review. She's just unpleasant to Grace, until Grace wins her over.
What I found more interesting is that, despite Grace's repeatedly proclaimed love of bakery and her desire to shine in her uncle's pastry shop, she makes NO effort to learn about French pastry while she's in Paris. This is shown in two ways.
First: When Grace tries to interest the owner of a luxury hotel, the Palace de Paris, in her uncle's pastry, she presents him with macarons. As you may know, these have been chic here in the States for the last several years. There's nothing to macarons, however, and in France they are mostly for children, because of the bright colors and jam fillings. They aren't desserts, they're just a quick snack, like cookies. Nonetheless, when the hotel owner finally breaks down and agrees to hire Grace's uncle, it is his macarons that impress the (adult) patrons at the hotel's July 14th garden party.
Second: when Grace returns to the U.S. and decides to save her French grandparents' French bakery, located somewhere in New England, she transforms it into a shop that specializes in cupcakes - not something you find in the average French bakery - and macarons. In other words, she turns a representative of French cuisine into a store that caters to American children's desires for sweets. She saves the French pastry shop by turning it into an American sweets shop.
And when she competes in the junior pastry chef contest back in the States, her first idea is to make a pineapple upside-down cake, which she had learned how to make before she left for Paris.
When she can't make that, she ends up winning with a tower of macarons, again something for children - though I suspect children might be put off by the lavender color.
This movie teaches the sort of moral lessons modern children's movies are expected to teach, and that's fine. The trip to Paris is a waste, though, because Grace learns nothing there that she could not have learned here at home.
From this adult's perspective, the movie, at 107 minutes, is also way too long.
- Jul 7, 2015