Ian Edelman’s comedy Puerto Ricans in Paris is a much sweeter film than its Snakes on a Plane–caliber title would suggest. Luis (Luis Guzmán) and Eddie (Edgar Garcia) are New York detectives who travel to France to track down a thief holding the prototype of a handbag created by famous designer Colette (Alice Taglioni) for ransom lest the crook flood the market with knockoffs.
Director Edelman takes the Continental corporate-intrigue mystery seriously — with at least a third of the dialogue in subtitled French — and though Luis, Eddie, and the camera make a point of ogling her early on, Colette emerges not as l’objet du désir but a well-rounded character with agency.
Her inner life is explored no less than the men’s, she’s actively involved in the investigation, and as much time is spent on Colette’s burgeoning platonic friendship with Eddie as on the occasionally predictable culture-clash comedy. This is all the more significant given the fact that Luis’s girlfriend, Vanessa (Rosario Dawson), and Eddie’s wife, Gloria (Rosie Perez), stay behind in America and are thus absent for much of the film.
While it’s a shame that those two terrific actresses are reduced to cameos, Puerto Ricans in Paris makes up for it by passing the Bechdel test and just being a good time overall.
Puerto Ricans in Paris
Directed by Ian Edelman
Opens June 10, AMC Empire 25
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 9, 2016