Whether or not director Ian Edelman was inspired by the Kanye West song when he came up with “Puerto Ricans in Paris,” the title of this warm but silly buddy cop comedy quite aptly fits the film’s rather obvious but entertaining plot.
“Puerto Ricans in Paris” opens with NYPD detectives Luis (Luis Guzmán) and Eddie (Edgar Garcia) in the middle of a counterfeit purse bust. The detectives, who are also brothers-in-law, have a reputation for being the best counterfeit cops in the city. When famous French designer Colette’s (Alice Taglioni) newest bag prototype goes missing and a ransom note threatens to flood the market with fakes before the product launch, she turns to Luis and Eddie, offering them $150,000 each if they catch the thief, so off to Paris they go.
One biking montage later, the pair are loose on the streets of Paris trying to suss out the thief from Colette’s circle of confidants. Luis and Eddie are polar opposites and most of the comedy in the film comes from their mismatched personalities. While Eddie is happily married to Luis’ sister Gloria (Rosie Perez), Luis is afraid of commitment and still playing the field in his late 30s. While Luis just wants to get in, solve the case, and get out with their money, Eddie is more interested in absorbing some French culture while they’re away.
Eddie is the emotional soul of the film, with a sweet nature that shines through every time the camera pans over him. He catches the eye of nearly every woman in Paris, to Luis’ chagrin but the attention comes without even the slightest hint of temptation. As Eddie grows closer to Colette Luis warns him to be careful, but the warning is unnecessary. At no point does Eddie ever imply he’s anything but crazy for his wife. Paris loves Eddie, and the case finally gives him the opportunity to shine he had been craving in New York. While Luis has to learn to channel his humbler side and matures in the process.
As the two continue the case and run around with Colette in Paris, they throw around Parisian clichés and Puerto Rican stereotypes. Edelman’s direction takes more of a feature film approach and steps away from what you’d expect in an indie. The plot doesn’t try to delve deeper into any messages or metaphors, yet the film is a fun ride nonetheless. “Puerto Ricans in Paris,” could easily have been switched out with “Let’s Be Cops,” or “White Chicks,” but the laughs were enjoyable enough for audiences to ignore the lack of originality.
Written & Directed By: Ian Edelman
Starring: Luis Guzmán, Edgar Garcia, Alice Taglioni