Written by, and starring, Simon Helberg (who also co-directed the movie), We’ll Never Have Paris is a romantic comedy based on the true life disaster that happened to Helberg and his partner, Jocelyn Towne (the other person directing the film).
Helberg plays Quinn, a young man not entirely dissimilar to the other onscreen persona that he’s best known for portraying. He’s a bit of a hypochondriac, he’s found a woman (Devon, played by Melanie Lynskey) that he loves, and he’s not the smoothest guy you’ll ever meet. When he tells his work colleague, Kelsey (Maggie Grace), that he is planning to propose to Devon things start to go wrong. Kelsey admits that she has feelings for him, Quinn starts to think about settling down with one woman for the rest of his life and, well, you can join the dots from there. It’s not long until things come apart, with the rest of the movie devoted to watching whether or not Helberg can fix everything.
While it may be based on true events, that doesn’t mean that We’ll Never Have Paris has a get-out clause when it comes to delivering the goods. For a rom-com, it’s just not that funny, unfortunately. Helberg is good in the lead role, which helps a lot as his character could easily come across as someone pretty loathsome at times, and he’s matched by Lynskey, but the writing and direction are both quite flat, leaving the cast without much to work with.
The supporting cast are a mixed bag. It’s always good to see Alfred Molina onscreen, and he plays Helberg’s father in this, and it’s also always good to see Zachary Quinto. Unfortunately, Quinto’s character is completely redundant, with the exception of joining Helberg on a scene that feels just like a European Vacation homage (hey, any excuse for Ca Plane Pour Moi is alright by me). And then there’s Maggie Grace, stuck playing a beautiful woman who gets a bit unjustifiably clingy with someone she’s had a big crush on.
Sadly, this has nothing that you haven’t seen, and seen done better, many times before. It’s sub-standard, Woody Allen-esque stuff only lifted by the likable cast, and a few decent one-liners in the script. Is it watchable? Yes. Is it worth your time? Not really. Not when there are so many other titles that you could prioritise above it.
DIRECTOR: SIMON HELBERG, JOCELYN TOWNE
WRITER: SIMON HELBERG
STARS: SIMON HELBERG, MELANIE LYNSKEY, MAGGIE GRACE, ZACHARY QUINTO, ALFRED MOLINA
RUNTIME: 95 MINS APPROX