Is there a shortage of French citizens who are willing to work as extras? In An American Werewolf in Paris, Tom Everett Scott, the recessively holesome young actor from That Thing You Do!, plays an American tourist who stops off in Paris along with his frat-house-jerk buddies and hooks up with a beautiful undead chérie (Julie Delpy). Wherever he travels, though—bridges, punk clubs, the Eiffel Tower—the locations are weirdly underpopulated and drably lit. This must be the first movie that makes the urban jewel of France look like a Roger Corman backlot. The cruddy, shot-in-a-warehouse settings are especially depressing, since the computer-generated special effects seem to be taking place in another movie entirely (a far livelier one). We see various actors transformed into springy, lupine beasts with the heads of slavering warthogs, yet the way these creatures seethe and pounce bears almost no relation to the static backgrounds.
An American Werewolf in Paris actually has very little connection to the 1981 John Landis thriller An American Werewolf in London, which blended scares and snarkiness in a rudely original way. The new movie has a few scenes of corpses tossing off lines like ”A guy can’t rest in pieces around here!” Mostly, though, it’s an exercise in routine gore and occult tedium. Delpy, the French actress, with her saucer eyes and pale gaze of anxiety, seems almost shell-shocked by the junkiness of it all. She may have signed on to prove her mainstream credentials, but you haven’t seen desperation until you’ve watched Julie Delpy try to maintain her dignity while she fixes a milk shake out of two dripping hearts.