So this is where “Sex and the City” creator Darren Star has been since last year.

He spent the summer and autumn of 2019 in Paris, putting together a “romcom” about an American girl, Emily, (Lily Collins, “The Blind Side,” “Tolkien”) a brash, energetic young girl endowed with Audrey Hepburn’s eyebrows but lacking the gamin charm.

Emily, as played by Collins, is best described as a younger “Ms. Maisel” of Amazon, on six pots of black coffee.

Emily starts her Chicago days by running 5 miles in 41 minutes. That almost exhausted me into switching to the sleepy Golf Channel.

Buzzed up Emily begins as a Chicago millennial marketing manager who works her way up in her company, and gets promoted to a cushy job … in Paris. After 10 minutes with Emily, you’ll suspect that the promotion was a ruse by her employers just to unload her, so they could get some sleep.

Before we really get to know her, our Emily is in The City of Lights, starting her job as a social media expert for a Parisian social media company. American TV likes Emily-ish energy. We soon learn that the French, especially the Parisian French, don’t. C’est la vie.

First of all, Emily doesn’t speak a word of French, that’s bad, but brashly uses a smart phone device, jammed into other faces to translate. Sacre bleu!

She does buy a beret. That’s good. But it’s red instead of Parisian black. That’s bad. And who else but Emily would decorate her purse with a miniature Eiffel Tower key chain. C’est outré!

But then Darren Star’s Paris is not the Paris of Gene Kelly. It’s designed to lure romance hungry millennials trapped in college dorms. Oh well, pourquoi pas?

There are no terrorists, sewer backups, crowded cafes or COVID. It’s a champagne flute of Woody Allen’s Paris, seen through his tinted glasses, the “City of Love,” “City of Light,” etc. with the usual strings and multi-sunny bridges.

But then why not? Why visit Paris from our living rooms any other way?

Her work mates (Camille Razat, Bruno Gouery and Amaud Viard) are barely friendly, but courteous enough, but for her boss, (the wonderful Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu of Netflix’s “Call My Agent”) who is worth watching just to see her icy-shocked glances. We’re sure our Emily will eventually win her over.

She has one nice friend, Mindy Chen, (Ashley Park) a Chinese heiress now employed as a nanny.

Emily has a very disposable, cream of wheat boyfriend back in Chicago (Roe Hartrampf.) That’s okay, because downstairs in the apartment building, wouldn’t you know, lurks a fiercely handsome, smoky, chef (Lucas Bravo.) C’est magnifique!

But that’s all in the first showing. It may improve. However, to truly learn about real Parisian French culture, it’s best go back and rewatch (as we did) the wonderful “Call My Agent,” about the ASK talent agency and the Hollywood-like dynamics of French show business. There it is, still alive on Netflix. We’re on our seventh rewatch.

“Emily” is currently streaming on Netflix.


J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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