Review: Lost in Paris

Blu-ray & DVD: Lost in Paris (2016)

Written, directed, co-produced AND starring multi-tasking husband and wife comedians Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel, Lost in Paris is regarded as something of a commercial breakthrough for the prolific, hard-working burlesque duo, who bagged French screen icon Emmanuelle Riva (who died shortly after the film’s release) and comedy hero Pierre Richard to co-star in this whimsical, broad slice of cartoonish live-action tomfoolery.

Colourful and fanciful as it may be, I’m afraid this type of dialogue-sparse slapstick simply isn’t my cup of thé. I sat through the mercifully short 83-minute duration stony-faced and never far from a disdainful eye-roll. The plot concerns Canadian librarian Fiona’s (Gordon) trip to the French capital to track down her AWOL gran (Riva) who refuses to be put into a care home. ‘Hilarious’ misadventures ensue involving multiple prat-falls into the Seine and a farcical miscommunication which sees Fiona and a persistent tramp (Abel) gatecrash a stranger’s funeral, under the delusion they are honouring her (not dead) gran!!

I’m sure if you’re in the right frame of mind, Lost in Paris might work as an antiquated, frivolous alternative to modern Hollywood traditions (think Wes Anderson meets Charlie Chaplin), but for me the manic, physical japery came off as hapless and cheesy rather than charming. The balance just felt off-kilter, with the immature absurdism meshed awkwardly alongside far more mature gags inappropriate for family audiences. There’s a urination stunt where a boat load of tourists get an eyeful of Abel’s penis and a coffin-unhinging scene which borders on the distasteful. Worst of all is the cringeworthy moment where Abel beds the 89-year-old after he has woken up from a sex dream about her granddaughter!!

Inevitably, all of this meant the intended poignancy of the climactic Eiffel Tower climb was lost on me, but at least Arrow Academy have granted this recent DVD and Blu-ray release a superior presentation, bundling the main feature alongside two of Abel and Gordon’s short films and a ‘catch-up’ audio/visual featurette which summarises the pair’s work-to-date for any newcomers to their burlesque sensibilities (and no, it’s NOT that kind of burlesque!).


  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray Presentation
  • Original 5.1 surround sound
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Abel & Gordon and the Quest for Burlesque – a video essay by Variety film critic Peter Debruge
  • Walking on the Wild Side, The Tent – two short films by Abel & Gordon
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options

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Review by Chris Howard from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films. For more of his movie musings, please bookmark his website.