Luc Besson returns to Paris with a little movie that begins as playful comedy about a crook who meets a beautiful woman — and ends as dreadfully dumbed-down remake of Wings of Desire. André (Jamel Debbouze) is a scam artist who’s run out of luck, ready to hurl himself into the Seine when Angela (Rie Rasmussen) does the same. He saves her life, and they make a pact…. The first twenty minutes are lithe and fun, and in the slick black-and-white cinematography, Paris looks almost as good as the freakishly leggy Danish model.

Then comes the fatal misstep: Angela — mon dieu! — is an honest-to-god angel, sent to teach André the value of love, honesty, and self-respect. She does this by whoring herself out to every man in some sort of day-time nightclub and giving cloying speeches that Rasmussen is not actress enough to pull off (I doubt anybody is.) Even at 88 minutes, Angel-A feels padded and overlong, and the ending is an embarrassment of unearned sentiment.

Speaking of bridges: after the screening, we partied with Ghostface Killah and Spike Lee under the Queensboro, but that’s a story for another day. Angel-A opens May 25.

Angel-A. Luc Besson, 2005. **