Kate’s idea of perfect life of marriage with kids in a house of their own with a white picket fence is interrupted by her straying fiance who flew to France and fell in love with a french woman. Although she is neurotic and afraid of flying, Kate boards a plane to France to confront her fiance only to discover that she is seated next to a French man full of all sorts of surprises that change the course of her life forever.
Meg Ryan in Another Romantic Comedy
Meg Ryan plays Kate in yet another romantic comedy within a three year span: IQ in ’94, Sleepless in Seattle in ’93 -and a similar role in Joe Versus the Volcano in ’90.
The role of a lively and perky yet repressed single woman seemingly has become routine for Ryan and may come off as standard to viewers who have seen her play this role before.
But here comes the capable Kevin Kline who plays -Luc, a petty thief with a heart. Kline won an Oscar for his role in A Fish Called Wanda and continues to demonstrate his ability to cast flair where it is lacking. And in this case, to prevent this film from becoming yet another one of Meg Ryan’s romantic comedies.
Paris and the Eiffel Tower Effect
Kline is not the only one to help fill in the gaps in order to move this film past what it could have been. Lawrence Kasdan, the director, uses setting in some interesting ways in order to make emotional points.
Whether viewers realize it or not, Ryan dreams of seeing the Eiffel Tower but she keeps missing the opportunity to see it.
The Eiffel Tower is behind her when they are driving in a car, or later she turns to look out the window right after it passes out of sight. Although Kasdan’s technique in this respect may be subtle, it’s impact is not; and it’s one example of how Kasdan finds ways to uniquely portray Kate’s emotional roller-coaster ride to find what she is looking for.
Supporting Actors and the Play on Nationalities
Supporting actors also contribute to this film in playing fun at nationalities. When viewers may find themselves naturally looking to criticize Kline as a Frenchman or Ryan in yet another romantic comedy, they may find themselves distracted, for example, by the humor provided by the nonchalant French Cop, the snooty Hotel Clerk -and even Ryan’s on-going struggle with customs as she is considered neither American nor Canadian.
Although this may be yet another romantic comedy with Meg Ryan playing a neurotic woman in search of romance and love, it is different for the better in countless ways Kasdan and his writer found to contribute to this film.