American Werewolf in Paris (1997)
Director: Anthony Waller
Tom Everett Scott/Andy
Andy (Scott) and his two loser pals are on a trip to Paris. Andy bungees off the Eiffel tower, falls in love with a werewolf chick, gets hurt by a werewolf, becomes a werewolf, battles a werewolf cult bent on world domination and wonders what the screenwriters were smoking when they wrote this silly script.
I’m going to contradict myself: I enjoyed this movie but on an overall screenplay level, it’s pretty damn weak. Let me expand…
The main problem with this film is that the script is all over the place and has way too many ideas for its own good. I didn’t buy the love story (it happens too fast and both stars have zero chemistry), the werewolf cult angle is gnarly but belonged in another script (they should’ve just made a whole movie about that) and some plot turns are too far fetched (for example, would Chris really go back to Seraphine’s house? Not really, that happens so the movie can have that extra “tense” scene.) But the script’s biggest failure is its pathetic attempt at re-creating Landis’s (director of "American Werewolf In London") juggling act of humor and scares. Let's dive into this…
The humor just doesn’t work. It goes too far and almost reaches “sitcom” level. One scene comes to mind: when Andy is in the bar, he drops to all fours and creeps under that hot chick’s skirt. What was that all about? I expected “canned laughter” to kick in! Also, the film’s treatment of the victims coming back to life is taken way too far with eyes gouging out ("Beetlejuice" style) and failed attempts at kiddie humor. That subplot also feels totally forced and is only there to give the original movie a poke in the ribs. Where Landis found a balance between his dramatic, scary and funny scenes, this sequel just goes to extremes on all counts. It makes for a very disjointed feel.
Taking into account all of the negative things that I have said, I still can’t deny that the movie entertained me. The Eiffel tower bungee scene is "fun stuff", the werewolf cult subplot is still pretty wicked, the directing is energetic and the tunes are good (yes, I like Bush…the band). On an eye candy level, the film delivered for me. Even the CGI werewolves were kinda kool (but Rick Baker can sleep at night…not even close).
"American Werewolf In Paris" tries to be everything at the same time: a sequel that stands alone, a comedy, a tale of a man becoming a werewolf, a love story and an action flick with evil cult werewolves. But the script doesn’t spend enough time with any of its elements for it to all mean anything. In the end, the movie is about nothing. The fun I got out of this flick was purely on a “video game” level. Stupid fun? You bet. Bite this…
The obviously fake looking werewolves soften up the harshness of the attacks. They do look kool but it’s too apparent that they’re not really there. Blood is shed in this flick but nothing memorable comes too mind. We get a severed hand, some wolf carnage; that’s all I remember that’s worth mentioning.
Tom Everett Scott (Andy) does okay but overplays that “ah shucks” vibe and lets his baby blue eyes do most of the acting. The weak dialogue doesn’t help him either. Julie Delpy (Seraphine) pulls off a miracle and manages to inject depth into her poorly written character. She’s too good for this movie. Vince Vieluf (Brad) is not an actor…'nuff said. Phil Buckman (Chris) acts with his biceps. Pierre Cosso (Claude) fits the bill. His shaved head and French accent make him look very menacing. Tom Novembre (Inspector Leduc) earns a paycheck.
T & A
Julie shows off her Delpys (again) and Phil Buckman shows off his pumped up body constantly. He should quit acting and become a go-go dancer…I hear “Chippendale's” are hiring.
Waller’s camera is always on the move and his visual flair brings the flick a well-needed dose of energy. He also slaps in some kool wolf POV shots, some slick scene transitions and does interesting things with sounds. It's all about candy coating. NOTE: Did he really have to slap in the strobe lights during the wolf party massacre scene? I couldn’t see shite! Maybe that was the point…
Forget the movie and get the soundtrack. It bombards us with slick grunge/ hip tunes non-stop. You like Bush? I do…but I will admit that the tunes didn’t always fit the images to which they were attached. The score is also a little bit too “grandiose” and takes itself way too seriously…this is not a Russian epic that we’re watching…it’s a werewolf flick. The score and the soundtrack don’t gel…at all!
Sixteen years after the original did we really need a sequel? Well, we got one anyway. They should’ve concentrated on one aspect of the script (I would’ve went with the cult thang) and developed it further instead of going the “potpourri” way. It’s a great background movie though (good tunes) or a good “let's get a bunch of homies over and get drunk” kinda flick. For some odd reason, I had fun with this mess and that means something. I guess the old saying is true: If you put enough whipped cream on shit, it just might taste good. This flick is the best example (whoever said that anyways??).
Am I the only one that caught the “Mute Witness” poster in the subway car?
Tim Burns, Tom Stern and Anthony Waller wrote the script…on weed, perhaps?