- Movie Rating -

Once in Paris . . . (1979)

| January 12, 1979

Once in Paris is hardly really a movie.  It’s a project made for financial reasons.  Some studio execs put a project together with a likable star who needed the work (in this case, Wayne Rogers), had him travel to a lovely vacation destination (in this case, Paris) and coupled him with a nice-looking lady (in this case, Gayle Hunnicut) and had them fall in love.  And then, for dramatic purposes, the romance is curtailed by a complication: he’s married.

Pretty much anything that happens after those brief plot points hardly matters.  This is a TV movie ballooned up for the big screen, released as a major motion picture and then disposed and forgotten just as quickly as it came.  That’s probably why you’ve never heard of it, and why it never got a video release after a brief appearance on VHS in the early 80s.

For Rogers’ part, it may have simply been that he needed the work.  After fighting with CBS over the content of his character on “M*A*S*H”, he exited the series after the third season, he tried and failed to get several TV projects going but to no avail.  Knowing that is to understand why, perhaps, he chose to do Once in Paris.

But again, the movie itself is a middling cupcake: sort of sweet but easily forgotten.  Rogers plays Michael Moore (!) a screenwriter who is in Paris to rescue a film project from Production Hell.  At the airport he meets a charming limo driver named Jean-Paul (Jack Lenoir) and they quickly develop a friendship.  Of course, while in Paris, he meets a nice lady who is staying at the same hotel and they have the kind of half-assed banter that you get from a coffee commercial:

She: I could show you Paris
He: I’d like that.  [jokingly] Suppose I get tired of you before Wednesday?
She: Hmm.  Just says so.  I promise I’ll do that same.
He: Well, in the interest of our honest relationship, um, I got a little confession to make.  You know, a moment ago when I said I felt great?
[she looks worried]
I felt terrific.

It should be noted that during this exchange, they are actually drinking coffee.  The romance is just at that level and so are the complications with his marriage back home.

Actually the relationship between Rogers and Gayle Hunnicutt are far less interesting than that bromance that blossoms between he and Jean-Paul.  That relationship seemed real while the film’s real romance seemed forced and stilted.

As I say, this is hardly a movie at all.  It’s a lot of forced, written dialogue, pattered through a plot that you can predict from a summary description and then the movie is forgotten before the credits roll.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1979) View IMDB Filed in: Drama