|Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in Ready to Wear (dir. Robert Altman, 1994).|
It says something that Robert Altman’s films are compulsively watchable even when they’re not that great. Case in point: Ready to Wear (a.k.a. Pret a Porter) from 1994, a farcical ensemble comedy set in Paris during Fashion Week. It’s pretty apparent that Altman, in his unpretentious American way, doesn’t care much about haute couture other than as fodder for satire (the film culminates in a cute riff on “The Emperor’s New Clothes”). The setting also provides him with an opportunity to do his version of an international co-production, with such European stars as Anouk Aimee, Marcello Mastroianni, and Sophia Loren acting alongside Julia Roberts, Lauren Bacall, and Lyle Lovett. Ready to Wear is frothy and silly enough to make you almost forget that many of its jokes are lesser versions of things he did in other movies—like Kim Basinger as a perky TV reporter who covers Paris fashion with a Southern drawl, an American cousin to Geraldine Chaplin’s BBC journalist adrift in Nashville.