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Film review: Window to Paris

"Window to Paris" is a bizarre Russian comedy, a bombastic, loud, obnoxious "Twilight Zone"-ish parable meant to show the contrast between poverty in modern-day Russia and the capitalistic material wealth of the Western world. Which is more corrupting seems to be up for debate.

The central characters are a music teacher who is something of a Pied Piper to his students and his new landlord, whose rowdy family discovers a strange portal behind their wardrobe closet (perhaps some credit should be given to "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe").

As they drunkenly exit this "window," they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. The next day, when they sober up, they realize they are in Paris. And while the teacher spends most of his time simply trying to find a more appreciative audience for his music, the landlord's family starts collecting consumer goods. The metaphor is obvious and heavy-handed.

There is also a French neighbor who becomes irritated by the constant screaming and bickering of her new Russian neighbors. (She could easily represent the audience.) But eventually she crosses through the "window," finds herself in bleak St. Petersburg and better understands the situation.

Well-intentioned and occasionally amusing, "Window to Paris" is just too shrill for my taste. A little goes a long way.

The film is rated PG-13, which seems rather tame considering how much profanity there is, not to mention a scene that includes frontal nudity.