Californian beauty Isabel Walker (Kate Hudson) arrives in Paris to visit her pregnant sister Roxy de Persand (Naomi Watts) just as Charles-Henri de Persand (Melvil Poupaud) walks out on her for another woman. While Roxy and Charles-Henri join battle in le divorce proceedings, Isabel accepts the classic Parisian position of mistress to suave and high profile diplomat Edgar Cosset (Thierry Lhermitte), uncle to Charles-Henri, whose family is the quintessential, sophisticated and stubborn French unit of society, headed by its elegant, uncompromising matriarch Suzanne (Leslie Caron). Le divorce settlement is complicated by issues of the ownership and origins of a painting in Isabel and Charles-Henri’s Paris apartment, originally owned by the Walker family and possibly worth a fortune.
 

3.5
One of the better recent efforts from producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory.

Diane Johnson\'s 1997 novel proved fertile ground for this story of an American innocent in Paris. She\'s Isabel, Kate Hudson, who arrives at her sister Roxy\'s place, Naomi Watts, just as her husband decamps. It doesn\'t matter that Roxy is pregnant with their second child, divorce is in the air. Visiting the family of the erring husband with the matriarch played by Leslie Caron, Isabel is entranced by Uncle Edgar, Thierry Lhermitte, a noted womaniser who many years ago had had an affair with Isabel\'s future employer, an American poet living in Paris, Glenn Close. Division of marital property is made problematic by the provenance of a 17th century painting belonging to Isabel\'s family.

This souffle of American naivete meeting French pragmatism head-on admittedly has its longeurs but it also has its pleasures. An array of characters including Roxy\'s parents, Stockard Channing and Sam Waterston, Matthew Modine\'s cuckolded husband, Bebe Neuwirth\'s museum curator and Stephen Fry\'s art expert are all momentarily delicious. The sum of the parts doesn\'t add up to all that much and doesn\'t go much beyond enjoyable cliche.