But Midnight in Paris was supposed to be pretty good. It won one Oscar (for Best Original Screenplay) and was nominated for three others (Best Picture, Best Director, and—zzzz—Art Direction). And Mrs. Salad expressed an interest, so…
Eh, not so much. What's the big deal?
The movie's protagonist is Gil (Owen Wilson), who's saddled with tedious fiancee, Inez (Rachel McAdams), and even more tedious would-be in-laws (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy). They're all in Paris for some tourism.
Gil is sort of unhappy, tired of modern Paris. He's a successful Hollywood hack, but really dreams of being a seriously important literary author. He's beset by the philistinism and pretension of his associates, who dare to disrespect his lofty ambition.
Fortunately, Gil discovers a way to get back to Paris of the 20's. He rapidly meets a host of the artistic and literary giants of the era: Hemingway, Fitzgerald (and Zelda), Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Picasso, … You get the idea. He also meets Adriana (played by Marion Cotillard) who's far more interesting and sympathetic than present-day Inez. So…
OK, that doesn't sound so bad. And, obviously, a lot of people liked it just fine. Herewith, my gripes:
Owen Wilson's performance is a not-very-thinly-disguised imitation of Woody Allen, right down to his decades-old stuttering whiny mannerisms. To be fair, many reviews I read remarked on this. But it irritated me. (Also: Kurt Fuller, for some reason, seems to be imitating Alan Alda at his most insufferable. Why?)
The name-dropping script, written by Woody Allen, is mostly centered around convincing us that the Woody Allen-like character would have been recognized as a True Literary Talent and Deep Thinker by Hemingway, Stein, et.al. Please.
Nearly all the characters, past and present, are presented without subtlety or depth. (Although, to be fair, Adrien Brody's version of Salvador Dali is kind of a hoot.) This is a Classic Comics version of 1920's Paris.
But, hey, you might like it better than I did.