A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Emily in Paris is a show about a young woman whose marketing company sends her to its Paris branch, to the consternation of her new co-workers. Lots of attention is paid to the difference between American and French culture, we hear pronouncements like "French people are mean to your face" and Emily's boss, who's disgusted by fat Americans, often advises her to have a cigarette instead of eating. Emily is the subject of lots of male attention; expect her to have boyfriends and sex and to see scenes like one in which she and a male friend masturbate together on the phone (no nudity, but there are suggestive hand movements). Many characters smoke; they also drink wine at parties and dinners, but no one acts drunk. Women are in strong central roles, but the show's cast is mostly White and definitely posh. Locations are elegant and expensive, and Emily's clothing looks fashion-magazine chic and pricey. Her work involves luxury brands; we hear about how expensive and exclusive they are. Language is infrequent: "hell," "s--t," "merde" (French for "poop"). Positive messages may not land strongly in such a light, frothy show, but there are messages about finding a balance between one's work and private life, and being true to oneself even in the face of disapproval.
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What's the story?
Created by Sex and the City's Darren Star, EMILY IN PARIS begins just as Emily (Lily Collins) is handed a plum work assignment: living in Paris for a year and bringing a more American point of view to the French branch of her marketing company. But her new French colleagues are dismayed by Emily in dozens of different ways: her clothes, her loud voice, the brashness with which she discusses business, and, most particularly, the fact that she barely speaks a word of French. But it's going to take more than a few vindictive co-workers to make Emily back down, and with time, effort, and a full-on charm offensive, she just might make it in Paris after all.
Is it any good?
As a great big slice of wish fulfillment, this confection is as light and bubbly as champagne, and twice as heady. Viewers who hoped Darren Star's new TV show would carry a whiff of Sex and the City are definitely in luck -- of course, the action is transplanted to the City of Light rather than NYC, and the quartet of friends is cut down to a twosome (Emily almost immediately meets a sympathetic best buddy by chance in a park, and the two are soon rendezvousing for cozy sidewalk cafe meals). It's also faintly ridiculous in some of the same ways that Sex and the City was, with a charmingly egocentric lead who's constantly hit on by devastatingly handsome men (with French accents!), wears designer clothing far beyond her means, and always finds a clever solution to every problem.
Emily's supposed talent for social media also strains one's suspension of disbelief, given that her EmilyinParis account starts racking up thousands of followers and likes with photos of marble statues hashtagged #chiseledabs or selfies of Emily eating pain au chocolat. At work, too, her campaigns are pun-based, cringey; but she's so, so, so, so talented, everyone says so! Ah, but it hardly matters when Emily in Paris has Lily Collins as our gorgeous-young-thing-in-the-city avatar and a sufficient amount of conflict in the form of an impossibly chic French boss (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) who's actively trying to sabotage her, immediately shunting Emily off to a lubricant for mature women called Vag-Jeune. Patricia Fields is on costume duty too, and Emily's outfits are almost striking enough to draw focus away from the radiantly shot Parisian street scenes overlaid with a kicky score of mostly French pop. Give Emily in Paris a kiss on each cheek and go ahead and settle in for your binge -- there's no fighting it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about shows that feature a "fish out of water" premise -- that is, a character put in an uncomfortable setting. What are the dramatic and/or comic possibilities of this type of premise? What variations can you name? Is the audience supposed to root for Emily ? How can you tell?
Like creator Darren Star's best-known TV show, Sex and the City, Emily in Paris features a young female main character in a big city who has lofty career and romantic ambitions. How does the show's Paris setting change the setup? In what ways is Emily like or unlike Carrie Bradshaw?
Much of the humor in this show is derived from cultural misunderstandings between Emily and the people she meets in Paris, such as when she attempts to send back a dish in a restaurant, or makes a language-based error in a social media campaign. How does Emily find ways to turn her uniqueness into an advantage?
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