French Girl

French Girl (2024) Film Review
Paramount Global
French Girl is a 2024 romantic comedy film written and directed by James A. Woods and Nicolas Wright. When English teacher Gordon's girlfriend gets whisked away to Canada for a new job opportunity he comes along and must meet her family. Chaos ensues.

The story's overall structure and production are very linear and simple. Gordon is played by Zach Braff (Garden State, Scrubs) who works as a middle school English teacher, and the film wastes no time in showing his romantic and intimate relationship with his girlfriend Sophie played by Evelyn Brochu (Pawn Sacrifice) who works as a chef. One day when Sophie runs into Ruby played by Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Spring Breakers) she is offered a job in the restaurant of her luxury hotel in Quebec City so she and Gordon must return to her family home. Gordon attempts to make a good impression on her family and needless to say, it doesn't quite go to plan. Unfortunately, by about the halfway point, it's easy to tell where the story is going and you can predict how it will end. The cinematography is decent as there are some good shots of Quebec City, however, the location ultimately feels a little wasted as the movie mostly only takes place in two locations, 3 if you count the brief sequence at the start of the film set in America.

The humor is there as some laugh-out-loud one-line zingers are so unexpected, that you can't help but laugh. This film is a change of pace for Woods and Wright — their past work includes writing credits for Independence Day: Resurgence. It was interesting to see these guys try to tackle rom-coms. There's something satisfying about watching Zach Braff getting chased by a swan. Unfortunately, the film becomes bogged down by all the tropes we've seen before.

The acting is surprisingly good in this film. Zach Braff has already proven himself as a comedy actor; this film is no exception. Even with some of the less funny scenes, it's still hard not to laugh as he portrays his character well — a natural in the role. He manages a mix of physical comedy and comedic dialogue and pulls it off well. The other stand-out is Hudgens. She plays the antagonist as Sophie's ex and hams it up so much that her character is so hateful but obviously, she's meant to be. She's so convincing and she doesn't fall into the trap of being a likable villain like The Boys' Homelander or Buffy's Spike, rather you end up hoping she ends up getting her comeuppance. Unfortunately, the other characters seem one-dimensional, except for one of Sophie's brothers, Junior. Gordon's friendship with Junior is super wholesome and they've got some great chemistry on-screen.

Don't go into French Girl expecting a transformative thought-provoking experience. This is a simple film and not much different from all the rom-coms that have come before it, but it should please fans of the genre.

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