The real star of ROAD TO RUIN, an innocuous but often winsome romantic comedy topping Peter Weller and Carey Lowell, is Paris itself, as lovingly photographed by Jean-Yves LeMener.
Jack Sloan (Weller) is a rich, high-powered American businessman who has lived in Paris for the past 20 years. But for all his wealth Jack is unhappy, with no family or close friends, except for his business partner Julien Boulet (Michel Duchaussoy). His girlfriends seem all the same, a parade of
identically beautiful but frivilous women who are mainly interested in his money. Then he meets Jessie Taylor (Lowell), a successful model. Although she is unimpressed by his savoir faire and limos, he pursues her all over Paris; she finally relents, and they become lovers.
However, Jack soon worries that Jessie played hard to get only as a ploy to snare him ultimately for his money. So he concocts a scheme with Julien to strip himself of his $25 million assets, to be safely temporarily transferred into dummy accounts and corporations, and tells Jessie that he has
lost everything in the stockmarket, to see if she sticks by him. He rents a scummy apartment and starts training as an assistant manager at a fast-food joint called Le Quick Hamburger. The perceptive Jessie suspects something is afoot, so she fakes her own kidnapping, and when Jack attempts to
reclaim his loot to pay the $2 million "ransom" he finds that the cheating Julien has handled the paperwork too well and now owns all of Jack's wealth.
Now truly penniless, Jack confesses his plot to Jessie, who is offended by his attitude and leaves him. Ultimately they reunite and, with Jessie playing a prostitute, trap Julien into a confession. At fadeout Jessie and Jack walk off in connubial bliss, as the sun sets over the Eiffel Tower.
While even Tracy and Hepburn couldn't have pulled this one off, stars Peter Weller (ROBOCOP, NAKED LUNCH) and Carey Lowell (LICENSE TO KILL, THE GUARDIAN) are personable and perform well enough, but there is little chemistry sparking between them, and Erick Anjou's blandly transparent, often
harebrained screenplay doesn't help them much. Faring best among the actors is the veteran Duchaussoy who has worked with many of the great European directors and is best known for his four films with Claude Chabrol. They are, in chronological order, LA FEMME INFIDELE, QUE LA BETE MEURE, LA
RUPTURE and NADA.
Charlotte Brandstrom's direction is strictly routine, with its farcical comic moments especially flat, but the production, shot in English by a French crew, is quite glossy and stylish, just like Jack's expensive Armani suits. (Profanity, brief nudity, sexual situations.)
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