(On Cable TV, April 2019) There’s an entire book to be written about Hollywood’s continued fascination with France, which seems consistently overrepresented relative other non-Anglosphere destination from the very beginning of the art form (which makes sense considering France’s early role in the development of motion picture technology). This can be seen in the frequency in which France and Paris become destinations in Hollywood movies, the porosity of French actors with Hollywood careers (from Maurice Chevalier to Gerard Depardieu, Jean Reno and Léa Seydoux) and the generally positive French stereotypes as vehicled in films (even throughout the spectacularly dumb “Freedom Fries” years). As a French-Canadian, I’m not complaining! But it’s in that context that French Kiss is to be considered—even as it seems determined to revisit every cliché of Franco-Hollywood, it exists in a much wider historical continuity. It’s not a perfect fit: the decision to cast Kevin Kline as a Frenchman is a weird one (the role was originally intended for Depardieu, which would have been much better), especially considering that while Kline can do English with a French Accent, his French is mushy with a strong British-English accent. But we’re not supposed to care, as French Kiss is supposed to be this kind of cute reality-adjacent romantic comedy with a dash of deception as an American woman semi-willingly conspires with a Frenchman trying to purchase a vineyard. The French element is indissociable from the script, even if familiar romantic tropes are deployed throughout the film. Still, director Lawrence Kasdan takes a few steps beyond romantic comedy to have a (brief) look as some character-based drama. Is it enough? Maybe—This is one of the films that ensured that Meg Ryan would be called the queen of romantic comedies throughout the 1990s but also the kind of film that fades out when put alongside stronger ones. It’s cute, it’s not a waste of time and it’s certainly nowhere near the worst of what Hollywood could do at the time, but there’s a reason why it’s been forgotten twenty-five years later. Unless you’re an American Francophile, in which case it’s going to exactly fit the bill.