Under the Eiffel Tower

Under the Eiffel Tower follows Matt Walsh’s Stuart as he tags along with two friends (Michaela Watkins’ Tillie and David Wain’s Frank) and their daughter (Dylan Gelula’s Rosalind) on a trip to Paris after losing his job, with the narrative detailing Stuart’s sudden friendship with an aimless Scot (Reid Scott’s Liam) and their subsequent attempts at winning the heart of a fetching winery owner named Louise (Judith Godrèche). It’s a small-scale setup that’s employed largely to almost-passable-yet-primarily-forgettable effect by cowriter and director Archie Borders, as Under the Eiffel Tower boasts (or suffers from) a very gentle, very low-key atmosphere that generally prevents the viewer from wholeheartedly embracing the thin narrative – with the absence of a palpable spark certainly (and ultimately) playing a key role in cementing the movie’s downfall. It’s clear, too, that Walsh’s inability to convincingly step into the shoes of a romantic leading man exacerbate the picture’s various problems, while the third-act inclusion of eye-rollingly needless melodramatic elements, including the dreaded fake break-up, ensures that the whole thing ends on a seriously underwhelming note. The end result is a pervasively mediocre romance that often seems to be struggling to fill its already-short running time (ie there are so many montages), which is too bad, certainly, given the strong cast and inherently pleasant landscape in which the film transpires.

** out of ****

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