Opens Fri Sept 26
Set in the Hallmark Card-beautiful hills of rural France, and backed by a swelling orchestral score that seems far too Patch Adams to be sincere (and yet it is!), The Girl From Paris follows a young woman, Sandrine (Mathilde Seigner), who casts off the claustrophobic demands of urban life to become a farmer. She whips through agricultural school in the span of a few 10-second cuts, then heads for the country, where she buys a goat farm from an old man. The man, Adrien (Michel Serrault), is a grizzled old misogynist who, for some unclear reason remains on the property after Sandrine purchases it. His distaste for and mistrust of her femininity are, to say the least, less than subtle, and he frequently informs her she'll never make it as a farmer.
But guess what!? Sandrine DOES make it as a farmer, and guess even more what!? She and Gramps slowly, reluctantly, become the best of friends. If only filmmaker Carion had concentrated on the potential chaos of a city girl trying to operate a huge farm by herself, he might have struck gold. Instead, Sandrine is not only a farming natural, but even improves the place by opening it up to tourists, bed & breakfast style. It's always interesting to watch someone in a movie get better at a skill; it's much harder to make interesting a young woman befriending an old man, and this version of the scenario has nothing new to offer.
There are also scenes of disturbing animal slaughter in this film. A pig and several cows all get shot through the head, and a goat gives birth to two dead babies. Admittedly, these scenes do liven things up with a few seconds of abject nausea, but they feel completely out of place in this otherwise cloyingly sweet movie.
The Girl's biggest crime is its squandering of its lead actress, the super-sexy Seigner. Let's hope she does a REAL French movie soon (erotic and weird), and leaves this half-baked Euro-Disney tripe to the grandma set.