This buddy comedy is fun for a weekend, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
Luis Guzmán and Ravi Patel star in Ian Edelman’s outrageous buddy cop comedy Puerto Ricans in Paris. The How to Make it in America writer has also roped in Rosario Dawson and Rosie Perez to play the significant others of two NYPD officers who must locate the missing handbags of the world… literally.
The premise is utter lunacy. Two French designers come to the NYPD to locate a stolen prototype bag because the cops in Paris are apparently “too slow.” Sure, it’s a simple excuse for Luis (Guzmán) and Hassan (Patel) to parade around Paris, but most of the plot that follows simply bores. The mid-point red herring sticks out like a sore thumb, the ending twist can be seen from miles away, every buddy cop trope is used and misused repeatedly.
The pair is not entirely unlikeable. Both have relationship issues, Hassan with his wife and Luis with presumably his girlfriend, a relationship not taken too seriously by him or the writers. Hasssan is awfully sympathetic by the end. His arc contains thematic evidence that this film has a soul. His strength in the face of great temptation (a smoking french designer superstar, of course) creates something fuller than the jealous doofus Guzmán portrays. He’s hotheaded and has the funniest lines of the film, but his final minutes with Vanessa (Dawson) attempt to make a point about love and relationships that is dulled. This may be due to the complete lack of screen time the female leads get. It’s easy to imagine a stronger Puerto Ricans in Paris featuring a b-plot along these lines. Think Puerto Ricans in Paris and Their Neglected Wife and Ex-Girlfriend Back in The Big Apple.
Most of our time is spent with Luis and Hassan as they question suspects and dink in around in Paris during their (copious amounts of) free time. It’s fun. Ian Edelman has solid vision. The use of highly-stylized slow mo shots and fast cuts was never extraneous and always added to the film’s fun value. Alice Taglioni’s Collete subverts her femme fatale role and provides great interplay with Hassan. These moments where Edelman is most poignant in his declaration of true love conquers all . The message comes right at you, being perhaps the only part of the whole thing that stays longer than a beat. And while the script’s nothing special, the dialogue works to charm when it needs to. There are funny situations, one specifically involving our ‘heroes’ masquerading as foreign royalty. The villainous characters stand out, mostly as caricatures– but compelling ones.
Puerto Ricans in Paris ultimately delivers a sometimes stylish diversion that reminds us that trust and love are both important to making a relationship work. Because of course they are.
Puerto Ricans in Paris is out in theaters on June 1o.