Wilson shines in Allen’s Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen is one of the most respected individuals in the world of movie making.  And that’s with good reason.  But in his new movie, Midnight in Paris, one can’t help but wonder if Allen has perhaps lost some of his credibility.  While not a terrible movie, the whole thing comes across as little more than a niche film that would appeal only to a certain audience.  This leads it to be one of the more forgettable movies from 2011.

The story does a good job setting the scene as it begins.  The combined use of music and picturesque scenes of Paris let audiences know the general feel of the story will be laid back.  The problems start not long after, though.  While the story does a good job setting the feel and scene, it does little to nothing to grab the average viewer’s attention, and pull him/her in.  The problems continue from then on.  As Gill (Owen Wilson) goes back and forth in time, the movie loses its identity, and becomes little more than a literary ripoff of Night at The Museum, and perhaps Serendipity, or even My Life in Ruins.  The comparisons rise from Gill meeting his literary heroes in his travels back to the “better days” of expatriats and psuedo-intellectuals.

As uninteresting as Midnight in Paris turns out to be in the long run, it has one saving grace.  That single positive lies in the acting of Owen Wilson.  Wilson is no stranger to romantic comedies, with roles in the likes of Meet The Fockers, Little Fockers, Wedding Crashers, and You, Me and Dupree.  So playing Gill was obviously old hat for him.  At the same time, though, playing Gill allowed Wilson to branch out a little bit, too.  It was a different role than those he played in his previous rom-coms and screwball comedies (alongside buddy Ben Stiller).  If not for Wilson’s acting, Midnight in Paris would have been completely in the dark.  And yes, that bad pun was intended.  One can’t help but wonder if [Woody] Allen intentionally made Gill something of a mirror image of himself.  That’s because Gill definitely seemed to come across as the stereotyped caricature of Allen.

Wilson’s acting is the one major positive to Midnight in Paris.  Sure there’s beautiful scenery and classic music that creates the intended feeling of nostalgia.  But at the same time that they get the job done, what they also do is create a sense of snobbery.  In layman’s terms, it makes the story feel above the heads of average audiences.  What that does is create the urge to hit the fast forward button on their remotes.  And as with so many other movies, those who actually follow through can’t be blamed. 

The dvd’s bonus features do little to help save the overall viewing experience.  Whether on the dvd or blu-ray, the bonus features included on both formats are identical.  Both offer a short feature titled, “Midnight in Cannes”.  The blu-ray includes the standard photo gallery that nearly every dvd and blu-ray carries.  It simply is no motivation to buy the movie.  The bonus features and semi-elitist vibe presented in Midnight in Paris makes it anything but accessible to general audiences.  It does boast a relatively simple story, though.  Considering that, and Owen Wilson’s acting, it is a movie that’s worth at least one watch, even though it will likely fade into the twilight of movie history.