The amusing “We’ll Never Have Paris” bills itself as “based on a true story … unfortunately.” That wryly catastrophic tone informs much of this hangdog romantic comedy set at a pivotal point in the longtime relationship of neurotic florist-pianist Quinn (Simon Helberg of TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”) and his professor girlfriend Devon (Melanie Lynskey).
Just as Quinn plans to pop the question to Devon, his model-beautiful co-worker, Kelsey (Maggie Grace), admits she has a major crush on him. Given that Kelsey’s significantly out of the nerdy-cute Quinn’s league — and that Devon is the only woman he’s slept with — Quinn puts the brakes on the marriage proposal and gives Kelsey a whirl. It proves a pretty disastrous choice all around, which ultimately leads Devon to rethink her life by way of a short-term move to Paris.
When a distraught Quinn inevitably follows his beloved to the City of Light, a few surprises result in some extremely funny, wistfully quirky bits. There’s also a nice use of such Paris locales as Père Lachaise Cemetery and Montmartre.
Helberg, who wrote and co-directed with his wife, Jocelyn Towne (their fractured courtship inspired the film), undeniably channels Woody Allen in his character’s persona and verbal delivery as well as the script’s anxiously droll observations and asides. Although Quinn may strike some viewers as more annoying narcissist than self-deprecating charmer, he’s a vivid creation.
Helberg receives enjoyable support from costars Lynskey and Grace, in addition to Zachary Quinto, Alfred Molina, Judith Light, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Dana Ivey, Fritz Weaver and Jason Ritter, who appear in small but distinctive roles. Fun French pop soundtrack to boot.
“We’ll Never Have Paris.”
MPAA rating: R for sexual content, language.
Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes.
Playing: iPic, Westwood. Also on VOD.