"An American Werewolf in Paris" is a painfully anemic variation on John Landis' 1981 winner, "An American Werewolf in London." While the original had both wit and poignancy--and an affectionate and knowing tip-of-the-hat to werewolf movies past--this slapdash, silly new edition is so cut-rate it has Luxembourg and Amsterdam standing in for the City of Light. Only the least discriminating segment of the "Scream 2" audience need bother.
Not even Julie Delpy, exquisite and persuasive as she is, can make the difference. Delpy's Serafine is about to jump off the Eiffel Tower when Tom Everett Scott's nice-guy Andy, on a European vacation with his two likable pals, Brad (Vince Vieluf) and Chris (Phil Buckman), steps in to save her. The attraction between Serafine and the tall, boyishly handsome Andy is instant, but Serafine tries to put him off until the inevitable moment she speaks that literally deathless line, "There's something I must tell you. . . . "
It seems that Serafine and her scientist stepfather (Thierry Lhermitte) have devoted themselves to finding a cure for her, but her surly ex-boyfriend Claude (Pierre Cosso) has injected himself with her blood and in turn infected a group of like-minded right-wing xenophobes so that they can cleanse Paris of what they regard as human scum--by feeding upon them. This plot plays itself out as ludicrously as it sounds, and the overly parochial political angle gets lost amid horror picture cliches.
The well-established Delpy will doubtless survive this debacle, and hopefully so will Scott, Vieluf and Buckman, who are capable actors. "An American Werewolf in Paris" is no fun at all. Not even the special effects are special.
* MPAA rating: R, for werewolf violence and gore and for some sexuality/nudity. Times guidelines: The film's werewolves are too scary for small children but won't fool older kids.
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'An American Werewolf in Paris'
Tom Everett Scott: Andy
Julie Delpy: Serafine
Vince Vieluf: Brad
Phil Buckman: Chris
A Buena Vista release of a Hollywood Pictures presentation in association with Cometstone Pictures and J&M Entertainment. Director-executive producer Anthony Waller. Producer Richard Claus. Screenplay by Tim Burns & Tom Stern and Waller; based on characters created by John Landis. Cinematographer Egon Werdin. Editor Peter R. Adam. Visual effects created by Santa Barbara Studios. Costumes Maria Schicker. Music Wilbert Hirsch. Production designer Matthias Kammermeier. Art director Hucky Hornberger. Set decorator Andrea Schlimper. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.
* Opens Thursday in general release throughout Southern California.