Under the Eiffel Tower is a new romantic comedy co-written and directed by Archie Borders. The film follows a man who, facing a mid-life crisis, tags along on his best friend’s family vacation. Things go awry when he suddenly proposes to his best friend’s much younger daughter.
The core mid-life crisis storyline is highly sympathetic. Although the story does follow most of the tropes of the genre, it does so in a way that is still enjoyable and refreshing because of the specific situations in which the character finds himself. We as the audience feel secondhand embarrassment for him, making us relate to him even more.
The romantic storyline is somewhat less sympathetic. The romance took the form of a rather straightforward love triangle, to which the result was predictable. This isn’t to say it isn’t compelling at all — it’s still rather cute and fun to watch — but the aspects focusing on Stuart’s inner crisis do most of the emotional heavy lifting.
All of the characters are very likable. Stuart is a flawed protagonist, which is essential for the mid-life crisis storyline to work. From the opening scene of the movie, you can tell that he and the struggles which he is facing internally are very real. The character Liam is the comedic sidekick, and he is effective as such. He is written to be quite charming and funny. The romantic interest, Louise, is also very well-written, being given more to do than just receive the affections of the male characters.
A significant part of what makes the film enjoyable is its humor. Quite a bit of it comes from the awkwardness of the situations, especially in the scene in which the protagonist is proposing to his best friend’s daughter. It’s hard not to laugh uncomfortably at scenes like this. In the latter half of the movie, the humor is more light and bouncy relying on the quirkiness and wit of the script.
The actors’ delivery certainly helps make the comedy land even more effectively. Matt Walsh does an excellent job as the protagonist. In most films, you see him as the wacky side character (even in the very serious Widows, he plays a comedic role). It was great to see him as a lead in a semi-dramatic movie, as he obviously has the skill and range to pull it off. Judith Godrèche and Reid Scott complement him well.
In technical terms, the film is strong too. The cinematography does an excellent job of capturing the beautiful scenery of France. There isn’t a whole lot of complexity to the technique, but it works nonetheless, as the background is able to accommodate for the lack of flashiness. The use of music is also strong, accenting the tone of the movie.
Overall, Under the Eiffel Tower was an enjoyable indie comedy. Although it may not be the most unique, it is touching and well-acted and is therefore worth a watch.
Under the Eiffel Tower hits theaters on February 8 and is available on VOD beginning February 12.