Midnight in Paris is for Owen Wilson what Stranger Than Fiction was for Will Ferrell: a staggeringly creative film that allowed a one-note comedy actor to surprise an audience with his ability to branch out.
Wilson plays Gil Pender, a Hollywood writer trying to make the switch to being a novelist. He’s on vacation with his fiancé and her parents in Paris, right in the heart of the town that represents his ideal romantic setting. He wants to walk the streets, to drink in the culture, to see Paris when it is raining. His wife-to-be and her family…well, they’re a little different. The mother is interested in spending way too much money on useless furniture, the father is more interested in showing up at a fancy-pants wine tasting, even though he hates French wine. When his girl shows no interest in a late evening stroll through the streets, Gil does it on his own and finds a ride with a wayward car that takes him back into the 1920s—a time period that Gil has always felt he was meant to live in.