Matt Walsh, a UCB co-founder and co-star on Veep, delivers a charming but long-overdue leading performance in Archie Borders’ Under the Eiffel Tower.
Stuart (Matt Walsh) had been working for a company that specializes in Kentucky Bourbon among iothers. Unfortunately, he loses his job right as the film begins. When his friends, Frank (David Wain) and Tillie (Michaela Watkins) invite him to join them on their Paris vacation, he doesn’t miss the opportunity to say no. Even though Stuart is friendly with this family, he foolishly decides to propose to their daughter, Rosalind (Dylan Gelula). This was a stupid idea from the get-go as Stuart is old enough to be her father! So Stuart does the next best thing that he can do–head back to the airport. This is where he meets Liam (Reid Scott, pulling off a Scottish accent) and the two decide to journey through France.
It’s on the train where Stuart and Liam are paired with Louise (Judith Godrèche) in their car. A classic meet-cute if Liam wasn’t such a ladies’ man. Here you have two men going after the same woman so it won’t end up well. Things work well in Stuart’s favor when he learns that Louise just happens to own a vineyard, Château Beauregard. Naturally, he thinks that this could result in getting his job back if he can make the deal of a life time. Being a rom-com as it may be, Stuart starts to fall for Louise. As with all rom-coms, there’s going to be something or another that gets in his way. In this case, it’s Gerard (Gary Cole)–the true owner of the winery.
As far as romantic comedies go, the film plays along the typical beats. Even though the film falls into the traditional rom-com trappings, it’s helped by the charm of Matt Walsh. It’s so refreshing to see Walsh take on a leading role. Props to director/co-writer Archie Borders–a fellow Louisvillian–for having faith in Walsh as a leading man. I’m honestly surprised that this hasn’t really happened yet. Note to filmmakers: please give Matt Walsh more leading roles!
When Stuart and Gerard meet, it’s clear that both of them are American. Stuart says he is from Louisville, to which Gerard responds “Nashville without the music.” What’s truly fascinating on this end is that I’ve never heard this particular insult before and I’m from Louisville! Maybe I’m just not hanging out with the right crowd? Insert obligatory “Keep Louisville Weird” comment here. In all seriousness and Old Fashioned or two not withstanding, it would have been nice to see at least one reference to Stuart being either a Kentucky or Louisville fan. That’s my chief complaint.
While Under the Eiffel Tower hits every genre cliche in the book, the film is able to overcome this due to the chemistry between Matt Walsh and Judith Godrèche.
DIRECTOR: Archie Borders
SCREENWRITERS: Archie Borders & David Henry
CAST: Matt Walsh, Judith Godrèche, Reid Scott, Michaela Watkins, David Wain, Dylan Gelula, Gary Cole, Ary Abittan
The Orchard released Under the Eiffel Tower in theaters February 8, 2019 and will release on Digital/VOD on February 12, 2019. Grade: 3.5/5
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