Watched Midnight in Paris the other night, and when I first watched it I thought it was great, etc, etc, but after watching it the more I thought about it, the more my thoughts just seem to flail at not liking it. I mean, at first I liked it a lot because it involved the Lost Generation and the Surrealists and all those people and things that were part of heroes and idols when I was a teenager and was just beginning to cement my own writing and style and etc. But the more the movie went on, the more flawed it became and it made me really miss the old Annie Hall and Manhattan and Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy and all those other films.
That’s not to say it’s bad, because it’s not. But at times it seems to contradict itself. The main character is screenwriter for Hollywood but hates it and calls it schlock with pap endings and wants to be a novelist. Yet, the movie follows and almost predictable Hollywood romantic comedy plot structure, to the point of having a shrew of a fiance (who cheats on him, because, you know I guess we need a moral reason to not like her or something) and parents /soon to be in laws that are mean and cruel and hate the main character.
The tea party jokes were good, pointed square at the parents, and the humor was good but not Allen’s best, and Owen Wilson is great at a character that other actors might make into a Woody Allen impression, which he avoids and instead gives the character a wide-eyed gee gosh shucks small town optimism that flavors his character well and lets him deliver lines in a way that never misses a comedy beat. The main problems, though, come with parts I loved when I first saw it. The main character goes to the past to meet literary idols/surrealists/etc, but they all seem to exist primarily for his benefit. It feels a tad Mary Sue and in that I was kinda disappointed. It does dodge some classic Romantic Comedy send ups, but in the end the desire for him to return home grow as a person and etc and leave behind the fallacy of the past all felt too much like the main character being forced to grow up somehow that happens in so many of these movies, and the stock characters of the wife and family and…ergh.
Although it was great seeing a stock Woody Allen character- the pedantic know it all psuedo-intellectual that all the woman in the movie seem to fall for for some reason or another. This felt like a classic return to the intellectual Woody Allen in those aspects, where the humor was smart humor and not slapstick and it was nice seeing that on screen again. And those parts are what shined the best, with a lot of lines coming out of Owen Wilson’s mouth calling back to older Woody Allen films.
So yeah it was mixed for me because it was too safe in too many spots for me. And for some reason this whole thing gets me thinking about Annie Hall, which is so classic, and knowing that it originally revolved around a murder mystery that was edited out . It’s crazy to think that there is something like that, hiding in the background of the film, that there is in the crevices of this movie another movie with darker undertones in it that never seep through the cracks.