SXSW Film Review: 'We'll Never Have Paris'
The writing is whip-smart, but the characters fall short
By Melanie Haupt, 1:08PM, Tue. Mar. 11
Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg has written a moderately entertaining romantic comedy about fucking up on an epic scale in matters of the heart.
Helberg stars as the hapless Quinn, a wannabe-musician who works as a florist. His longtime girlfriend, Devon (Melanie Lynskey), works as a college professor and is so far out of Quinn’s league that it’s laughable. The same goes for Quinn’s coworker Kelsey (Maggie Grace), a statuesque (albeit slovenly) beauty who for some reason finds him irresistible enough to stalk. While Helberg’s story is semiautobiographical, the casting is just too jarring to be believable, especially because Quinn’s character lacks any charisma whatsover. He’s deeply insecure, lacks ambition, and is a hypochondriac.
That said, the writing is at times whip-smart, especially a joke that references longstanding [post]-colonial tensions between France and Algeria. Albert Molina sparkles in a small role as Quinn’s father, and Jason Ritter is wasted in a minuscule part as Devon’s brother, while Zachary Quinto adds quirky ambience as Jameson, Quinn’s daishiki-clad, day-trading trustafarian bestie. Helberg is clearly striving to emulate Woody Allen here, and he gets there with the self-deprecating comedy but lands wide of the mark when it comes to character development.
We'll Never Have Paris
Narrative Spotlight, World Premiere
Wednesday, March 12, 11am, Marchesa
Thursday, March 13, 11am, Rollins