Midnight in Paris
For the first chunk of its running time, Woody Allen’s latest looks like it could be up there with his charming, magical best. By the time the movie ends, it’s just another sub-par Allen film with no real direction and an unsatisfactory ending. Owen Wilson, in a good performance, plays Gil, a Hollywood writer vacationing in Paris with his fiancée (an inconsistent Rachel McAdams). When he goes for midnight strolls, he ends up hobnobbing with the likes of Ernest Hemmingway (a funny Corey Stoll), Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo) and Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody in a brief yet amusing turn). He winds up giving his novel to Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) for critique, romancing a 1920s “art groupie” (Marion Cotillard) and losing interest in his real life. What could have been a grand statement about the complexities of the artistic life just winds up being an excuse to show McAdams’s jean-clad butt a lot. (Allen lets the camera linger on her butt for many minutes—I’m not complaining, just sayin’.) The ending feels tacked on, and a film idea that rivals the wonders of Allen’s own The Purple Rose of Cairo just sort of fizzles. Great premise, but an ultimately tired execution.