Plot: Quinn (Simon Helberg) is a risk averse kind of person, so he doesn’t like to break the status quo or push himself to go outside his comfort zone. He would love to be a jazz pianist, but he doesn’t want to risk performing in front of an audience, so he plays it safe and skips the live shows. This carries over to his love life, where he has been with the same woman since high school, Devon (Melanie Lynskey). While he loves her, he has always wondered if the grass was greener and when his foxy coworker Kelsey (Maggie Grace) shows an interest, Quinn rolls the dice. He breaks up with Devon and begins a relationship with Kelsey, which turns out to be much different than he imagined and of course, he wishes he was back with Devon. But she is in Paris with a new love interest, so can Quinn somehow prove he deserves a second chance?
Entertainment Value: This lame duck comedy banks on Simon Helberg’s presence on The Big Bang Theory to reel in viewers, but does little beyond the basics of the genre and is a forgettable experience. The narrative is based on a real life breakup and I can see that, as this is as dull and slow as a real life split. We’ll Never Have Paris is desperate to be a quirkier Woody Allen style comedy, but it never even comes close and could pass for a made for tv movie, not a memorable one at that. Quinn isn’t a likable loser, so you don’t care if he wins back his ex and that is kind of crucial here, given that it is the point of the entire narrative. The sense of humor weaves between cheap jokes and sight gags, few of which manage even minor laughs. The characters are thin and poorly developed, the jokes are predictable and mediocre, and the cast is adequate, but can only do so much with this kind of weak material. Even if you love cheesy romantic comedies, We’ll Never Have Paris is one you should likely pass on.
Simon Helberg made a fortune as a supporting player on The Big Bang Theory, but has flopped in his other efforts, including this one. He is to blame for most of the movie’s failures, as he writes, directs, and stars in this clunker, so the fault has to rest right on his shoulders. He just flounders in this role, unable to even get a chuckle and is hard to watch, as he just doesn’t perform well. This is the kind of performance you can’t believe made it through to the final movie, let alone as the lead, as Helberg really stinks out the place. Melanie Lynskey is quite good and makes the most she can out of this awful script, but even she can do only so much. But she has such charm and skill as an actor, that she at least makes her scenes watchable. I couldn’t believe Alfred Molina had to be part of this, but he also at least performs in capable fashion, despite the lackluster script. The cast also includes Zachary Quinto, Maggie Grace, Jason Ritter, and Judith Light, so the supporting cast is quite solid.