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Smart Street: The Madcap 'Avenue Montaigne'

Avenue Montaigne is a "boulevard comedy" — a breezy romp with sophisticated characters — that's actually about a boulevard. The locale is an elegant block in Paris where, on one hectic weekend, culture mavens suffer a variety of meltdowns. The film was written and directed by Daniele Thompson, who three decades ago wrote the romantic comedy Cousin Cousine.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.