Sunday, February 10, 2008

2 Days In Paris

2 Days In Paris is scathingly funny piece of romantic turmoil and culture shock from writer/director/star Julie Delpy. A person’s tolerance for on screen neurotics will help their appreciation of the film as if you aren’t into that—you won’t like this. 2 Days In Paris is the best “Woody Allen” styled comedy I’ve seen in some time—and to me that is a very good thing.

Marion and Jack are just finishing off a two-week trip to Italy. Marion, from Paris, plans a brief two-day stay so Jack, an American, can meet the folks/friends before heading back to New York. The couple have been together for two years but this trip has made them look at their relationship and gauge whether or not the person they’ve been with is the person they thought they were. You know the clichĂ© regarding Paris—it’s the city for lovers; well, that partly might be true but the Paris on display here is a city that can damage as well as enflame that love.

Normally watching a film where the two leads bicker practically the entire film would not be something I’d enjoy. At some point the arguing reaches a point to where I want to break up with them and stop watching the movie just to be rid of them. The Break-Up from 2006 was one such recent mainstream movie. Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, fighting non-stop, I found tiresome by the end of the movie. So, for 2 Days In Paris to be such an enjoyable film for me is proof it has a lot of different things going for it—oh, the quarrels are there but it’s entertaining nonetheless.

The reason the film works is there’s a lot happening—the neurotic couple; the fish out of water comic elements (Jack is American; can’t speak French; lots of befuddlement); the outlandish family antics; the various incidents in Parisian taxis; the escalating jealousy of Jack as he seems to meet an endless parade of Marion’s former lovers; all of this with a great deal of quick-quick dialogue that makes you feel like your in a throwback screwball comedy yet set in France with cursing and nudity.

I also liked the fact that this was not just a Parisian/French love-a-thon for the city and people. Delpy takes real digs at her city/country (as well as taking some digs at Americans). This gives 2 Days In Paris a more honest tone in its comedy as its unrealistic to believe the city is as flawless and romantic as Paris gets portrayed in film after film. Don’t get me wrong, the city still is a vibrant, amazing place in the film but it and its people have some issues that Delpy puts out there for us to see.

2 Days In Paris is a bit of an over the top comic version of Delpy’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Her persona was stamped firmly in those two films—she helped write the latter. At first, as I watched 2 Days In Paris, I was thinking this might be the end result of her relationship in those films if the couple were to stay together for two years but that’s not really the case. Marion is very similar but Jack is more manic and neurotic than Ethan Hawke’s character of Jesse.

2 Days In Paris is a charming comedy with two leads that have real chemistry (Delpy and Adam Goldberg were a one time couple). The comedy has a real bite to it though as these are neurotic, intelligent people, surrounded by other creative, sometimes eccentric people and the events that will challenge their relationship much deeper than they expect. Recommended for those of you looking for a modern screwball type of film done with French flare.

4 comments:

Laura said...

I am a big fan of Delpy and I was so mad at myself when I missed the showing of this at the art museum. I've been waiting for the DVD release. I watched this last week and I LOVED it. I thought it was brills. And I now have a big crush on Adam Goldberg.

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