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 When Andy and Liz are about to be married,
They talk over dinner while waiting for friends.
When Andy refers to one story quite varied,
Liz bids him continue to see how it ends.
He talks about Mickey, a loathed referee,
Who buried his unloving father in France.
The airline misplaced him for days (though for free),
But Mickey met Ellen and sparked a romance.
They spent time in Paris, their love growing strong,
And Mickey was heartbroken having to leave.
He later found out she was wed all along,
But was separated with no cause to grieve.
She got a divorce and left Paris for Mickey.
Their traveling honeymoon was truly great,
But settling down proved a little more tricky;
The schedules of each made the other one wait.
Whenever one half of the pair was contented,
The other was miserable, mad, and depressed.
They tried very hard, but the more they lamented
The more each of them felt entrapped and oppressed.
They tried having children but could not conceive,
And with Mickey’s travels, they drifted apart.
At last Paris beckons and Ellen must leave,
And both of them feel like they have half a heart.
By this time, poor Liz is heartsick and in tears,
From this tale that’s been told by the friends who arrive.
For Mickey they wait, but a guy overhears
And tells them the news from a game he saw live.
While Mickey was doing his referee role,
A woman approached, and the couple embraced.
Indeed, it was Ellen, to make their hearts whole,
And not let their marriage and love go to waste.
She said “Forget Paris,” for they have moved on,
And though it be tough, they will try it once more.
Then Mickey and Ellen show up close to dawn,
And all give a toast with the ones they adore.

Forget Paris is a romantic comedy in the same vein as Nora Ephron’s films, but it was actually Billy Crystal, one of the stars of Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally…, who directed, produced, co-wrote, and acted in this charming depiction of the highs and lows of married life. It is replete with comic situations and hilarious lines, such as a snarky waiter who keeps comparing himself to different wines, and much of Crystal’s dialogue sounds like clips from his stand-up performances. Some may think it strange to see him romantically involved with anyone other than Meg Ryan, but Debra Winger has good chemistry with Crystal and can usually match his wit and comic timing pretty well. Though she normally takes dramatic roles, that scene with the pigeon proves how great a comedic actress she can be. This is also the film that marked the start of her six-year hiatus from movies.

The film has a laudable lesson of sacrifice for the sake of sticking with a difficult marriage, though it’s unfortunate that the main characters are miserable most of the time. It’s ultimately a film that lets the audience laugh at a situation that would normally make them cry if it were actually happening to them. No one would want to spend time with a kooky father-in-law who repeats the same thing over and over; no one wants to be left alone by a spouse who travels for months at a time; and certainly no one wants to have a pigeon glued to their head. Yet seeing other people deal with such issues makes the film extremely entertaining. On the other hand, it takes itself seriously enough to deal with the very real problems that marriages face, and Mickey and Ellen’s bickering certainly sounds like an authentic married debate.

Lest Forget Paris devolve into an overly sentimental chick flick, such as those mocked in Sleepless in Seattle (and to some extent in this film too), Crystal threw in a welcome element for the guys in the audience. As a referee, Mickey gets to interact with a number of famous basketball players and mouth off to them however he likes. The way he snaps over too many complaints is hilarious, and I’m sure Crystal had a lot of fun doing those scenes.

There are some problems with the film, such as the mandatory premarital-sex-to-show-how-in-love-they-are cliché. Foul language is present, though minimal, and there is a rather uncomfortable sequence involving a sperm donation. Despite these, Forget Paris has a unique framing structure; a number of talented stars, including Julie Kavner, Richard Masur, and Joe Montegna; and a heartwarming ending (similar to that of When Harry Met Sally…) that indicates there’s hope for every marriage so long as the couple don’t give up on love.

Best line: (Mickey) “Never say ‘famous last words’ because they could be.”  (Ellen) “You’re a disturbed person, aren’t you?”   (Mickey, apparently mimicking Jeremy Irons from Reversal of Fortune) “You have no idea.”

VC’s best line: (Ellen, about her first husband) “No, he makes me miserable.”   (Mickey) “Well, I could do that! Come on, give me a chance.”

Artistry: 8
Characters/Actors: 8
Entertainment: 9
Visual Effects: N/A
Originality: 8
Watchability: 9
Other (language, sexual dialogue): -3
TOTAL: 39 out of 60

Next: #225 – Scrooged

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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