Starring: Ian McShane, Suzanne Pleshette, Michael Constantine
Director: Mel Stuart
Running Time: 99 mins
If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium is an American film about a group of US tourists who are taken on a whirlwind tour of Europe by a womanising Englishman, who, despite using the trip as an opportunity to keep up with his numerous girlfriends on the continent, begins to fall truly in love with one woman on his tour group.
Now, this has the feel of your average 1960s rom-com. It’s very light-hearted, it’s got a very simple story that you can see coming an absolute mile off, and despite being occasionally cheesy and overly dramatic, it’s still a fun story to follow along to, both in terms of the romance that emerges throughout and the gimmick of travelling all over Europe in the space of 99 minutes.
That’s one of the best things about this film, that it really gives you the feel of these whirlwind tours that were so popular with the Americans in the 50s and 60s, because you’re sped pointlessly quickly through some of the most famous landmarks in the world, with utter madness going absolutely everywhere, making for a chaotic sense of excitement amongst the tourists, as well as the tour guide’s zany antics, which is something that is consistently entertaining to watch.
What’s more is that the romance here is actually believable, and is actually funny, something that modern rom-coms just don’t do well. The way that the relationship between this one woman and the tour guide progresses is very funny at the beginning, and when they inevitably come together, it seems a lot more convincing, because you’ve seen them get to know each other and be basically fed up with each other throughout the whole trip, meaning that they have a genuinely real relationship.
Despite those successes, the one big problem with this film is that, in the latter stages when the romance becomes the main part of the story, it’s gets a little bit cheesy and slightly over-dramatic, which results in the comedic value being lost, and the overall atmosphere of fun and chaos too, which just isn’t as entertaining to watch.
Overall, this gets a 7.4, because despite its cheesiness late on, it’s still a mad, mad trip filled with crazy comedy, zany characters and a believable and entertaining love story.