Colonel Sir Edgar Fraser (Alec Guinness) is a wealthy widower who lives a quiet, secluded life with his son (Vernon Gray) at a beautiful estate in Scotland.
Worried that his son John has been too sheltered and needs to experience life outside of their blue-blooded realm, Edgar decides to take a trip to Paris, where his son can experience the city and hopefully find himself a lady-friend.
John has motives of his own in agreeing to the trip, though. Fearing that his father has become too secluded, spending many lonely hours holed away in Scotland, he decides that he wants to find his father a good woman to share his life with.
Father and son are completely well-meaning and have each other’s best interests at heart, but mishaps ensue as each tries to find the perfect lady for the other.
Robert Hamer (Kind Hearts and Coronets) directs 1955’s To Paris with Love. The film is based on a story by Sterling Noel, which was adapted for the screen by Robert Buckner (Yankee Doodle Dandy).
I had pretty high hopes for this film. On a Saturday afternoon after a very tough week, I was ready to watch something light and fluffy. What better than a romantic comedy set in a beautiful city?
Unfortunately, To Paris with Love is a bit of a dud.
The film is not completely lacking in positive aspects. The visual appeal of mid-century Paris (and mid-century interior design) in bright Technicolor is very high.
But visual beauty is not enough to save the film from a weak story and nearly non-existent chemistry.
The story is predictable, but that is not the problem here. I’m a fan of the romantic comedy genre and have been known to enjoy a number of films that I could predict every plot development of.
The problem is that the film is touted as a romantic comedy but contains very little in the way of heartwarming romance or side-splitting comedy. The “comedy” is dull and the romances, though they do exist in the script, also fall incredibly flat due to the lack of chemistry between the performers.
What makes romantic comedies fun to watch despite their typicality is that you can give your brain a break from intellectual investment while still becoming emotionally invested in the central relationship(s). If there isn’t any spark whatsoever in those relationships, the film is ineffective, and that is unfortunately the case here. The performers are likable enough individually, but as an ensemble they don’t impress.
I’ll give it a bit of credit for its visual beauty, but I can’t recommend this one. Learn from my mistake and don’t fall into the trap of To Paris with Love when Netflix recommends it to you based on your interest in the far superior Roman Holiday. The score: 0.5/5